Monday, March 16, 2009

Being Snubbed

President Obama has turned down a formal invitation by Gridiron Club, "a society of Washington reporters, columnists, and bureau chiefs," to an event that every president since Glover Cleveland has attended in their first year as president. Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune said:

"People feel uncommonly saddened, miffed and burned. I don’t think he understands the implications of not coming to the club in the first year. It’s not your ordinary state dinner. I think it would be helpful for him and his relations with the Washington establishment to come to the club."
President Obama understands exactly what he's doing. Many probably would not necessarily like to appear with many of those who will be in attendance at this function in tails and gowns when people are losing their homes and retirements. While the official report is that the President is too busy, I think there may be other reasons as well.

Firstly, there isn't much to celebrate in traditional media these days. Secondly, these media types have been so powerful and exclusive for so many years, perhaps it is time to think anew about the media and Washington. Maybe it's time to broaden the club. It was not by accident that President Obama called on a reporter from the Huffington Post at his first prime time press conference.

While the Gridiron Club may feel snubbed "uncommonly saddened, miffed and burned" that President Obama will not be in attendance at their dinner, perhaps they should take this time to look at the state of the media and reporting and re-group thereafter. Oh, one other thing, Mr. Page's analogy of this dinner versus a State dinner leaves me cold. It is not like the Gridiron Club includes everyday people. The President sees the likes of the media often.

President Obama should be applauded for his concentration on what's most important during this very difficult time for many Americans and for his independent streak. Now, let's see if there will be a backlash from the media.


DB said...

Backlash? No doubt. No doubt. But the lash should be on the back of the rusty, old traditional tethers that try to force people to think they way they always thought and not to invent, imsgine and innovate. I like it Hail to the Chief!!


judith ellis said...

Brilliant response, DB! You must pop in more often. I laughed aloud very loudly!

Hail to the Chief! Indeed!