George Stephanopoulos thinks the press should take a bow for itself:
The president hit his marks tonight. So did the White House press corps. […] Just about all of the questions were pointed and challenging, and just about every journalist worked in a follow-up. That’s new, and welcome.
Once again, whether in hardball mode or in softball mode, the world of mainstream political journalism reveals itself to have no idea of how to distinguish important issues from trivial ones. We got no questions last night about the administration’s bank plan, none about its financial regulatory proposals, none about the forthcoming Afghanistan policy review, and really nothing about the suffering of the American people in a time of distress. Instead, the press seemed mostly to have picked up on the fact that congressional Republicans are complaining about the deficit, so they asked some questions about the deficit. It didn’t really occur to anyone that the press conference might be a good time to raise the issues that aren’t being chewed on every ten minutes on cable.
In turn, confronted with predictable political challenges a president who’s backed by a skilled team was able to parry them effectively. It’s a well-played game by both sides, but did anyone learn anything? Was the session effective in educating the curious about major problems and the merits and shortcomings of the administration’s approach to them? I don’t really see it.