As White House reporters are lavished with praise for actually asking a few probing questions, it’s worth reflecting on the days when the press corps didn’t care at all about Karl Rove.
And by that I mean last week, and the nine long days that passed after Newsweek revealed that Rove had indeed spoken to Time reporter Matt Cooper about Valerie Plame. During that period, Scott McClellan spoke with White House reporters one, two, three, four, five times, President Bush not once but twice. And not a single journalist was curious enough to ask even one question about whether the most powerful man in Washington had leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent in a time of war.
Just imagine — what would have happened if McClellan or President Bush had been sprung with a question about Rove out of the blue? What would they have said in the heat of the moment? And if they said anything at all, would it have prevented them from deploying their current stonewalling strategy?
We’ll never have answers to those questions, though we do now have answers to these: the questions the press corps did ask during those nine days. A few of our favorites:
Did President Bush see any of the Live 8 concert?
Do you feel like the administration is getting due credit for the efforts that they’re making, for instance, on climate change or AIDS in Africa?
What kind of birthday cake [did President Bush have]?
What did he get for his birthday?
[To President Bush:] Were you wearing a helmet?