A remarkable exchange from the media watchers at CNN:
KURTZ: Meanwhile, one person who was called on was Sam Stein of the Huffington Post. So is this a new era for bloggers in terms of White House recognition?
CARLSON: I don’t know where Arianna was at moment, but she popped the champagne and cheered, because this is what bloggers have been waiting for, and he got it. And it’s — and it’s right. The Huffington Post…
IFILL: And he had a perfectly reasonable question.
CARLSON: He did. Huffington Post is as much a player in this last campaign and now in this White House coverage as anybody.
KURTZ: He asked a question about a proposal on Capitol Hill to start a truth and reconciliation commission to look into Bush-era wrongdoing.
IFILL: Something which the judiciary chairman in both the House and the Senate are interested in investigating. I was interested to hear what the president had to say, which was not much, because it was off topic, but it was perfectly reasonable to ask it.
I would be a little crazier if it was a blogger who’d never covered anything, who just showed up and said, You know, I was woke up this morning, thinking that, you know, I have a hangnail, Mr. President. Can you help me with that?
I’m glad to see Sam Stein getting credit for asking a smart question, but where’s the surprise that he asked a smart question coming from? The guy is a professional political reporter. The fact that his reporting underlies writing that appears on computer screens rather than on extremely cheap sheets of paper shouldn’t lead anyone to expect that given a chance to ask the President of the United States a question he didn’t turn to hangnails. The only surprising thing about Stein’s question was that he asked a question about a substantive matter of policy rather than following the usual MSM political reporter schtick of asking a political process question. That preference for process over substance is part of the reason America hates the media and the success of the new media is in part driven by the determination to avoid those mistakes that was on display in Stein’s choice of question.