Confidential to Michael Fletcher, Washington Post

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courtesy of ‘erik jaeger’

Dear Michael Fletcher.

Thanks so much for going to the Press Conference tonight and covering the event for our local paper. But seriously, you can ask the President anything, and you ask him about Alex Frakking Rodriguez?! Seriously?!

Was there nothing about the economics of the United States, or pressing foreign policy matters that you have to ask a sports question?!

Man. I hope this is a hazing prank or something and that Howie Kurtz is laughing it up in the wings right now.

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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19 thoughts on “Confidential to Michael Fletcher, Washington Post

  1. Why not ask it? It’s on the nation’s mind (at least anyone who cares about sports) and this is a president who has made it very clear that he’s a big sports guy. Obama’s stances on all the other stuff are well-known. Sure, we can get a soundbite here tonight, but nothing earth-shattering. And no, I don’t think ARod is more pressing than anything else, but it is a legit question and might actually get us an answer we don’t already know.

  2. It’s a bullshit question. In a National Spotlight, he made our hometown paper look provincial and uninterested in important news and rather interested in trivia.

  3. That question really pissed me off too. There’s so much going on right now that A-Rod taking steroids should only be covered during the 90 seconds of sports coverage on local news and on ESPN/CSN.

    Now I am fairly liberal, but the government should not be wasting any of its time or money on baseball. Selig gets 17 million a year; this is his turd to deal with.

  4. Certainly it’s a bullshit question in the grand scheme of things, but people _do_ care, despite what most of us think.

    The Post got some info on something that the President has a known stake in (sports: see his comment on the BCS, on Baseball, etc) and the nation got 58 minutes of more Barack on the Economy and Foreign Affairs. We know what his positions there are, but it is good to hear it more.

    Nevertheless, it’s also not terrible to take a lighthearted minute (maybe it was two). Maybe take everyone’s minds off of the econ. for a minute. And regardless, the Post just got a quote that no one else was getting (granted everyone _got_ it, but wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been asked.)

  5. Also, one thing I just thought of. I realize the crux of this is “Why the WaPo?” That’s an argument I can understand. That said, I would bet that fewer than 5% of people watching know that the reporter was WaPo (unless Obama said it… I don’t remember him doing that, but he did for some, so I could be wrong)

  6. I got it! He asked the guess because he’s trying to plant the idea of selling steroids to ball-players to stimulate the economy! It’s really quite genius, when you stop and think about it…

  7. Did you see the double-take of 95% of the other reporters around Michael Fletcher when he posed what I consider to be the most ridiculous question ever asked a President considering the real and urgent issues of the day. The look on FOX News Channel’s Major Garrett face expressed what ALL sensible people were feeling.. . “YOU CAN’T BE F…ING SERIOUS”! That’s like giving a devout Catholic a chance to ask the Pope a direct question, and what comes out of their mouth is “What are your feelings about artificial turf”? Give this reporter his own show. MEDIA IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. The question was stupid but it did rattle Obama a little bit, I’m sure he was thing ‘are you serious’. The WaPo openly endorsed Obama, a question challenging his policies was not expected either. The WaPo did a good job because the day everyone is talking about them.
    In my opinion the real surprise of the night was the Huffington Post being legitimized by being allowed to ask a question. Hating Bush is a full time job and Obama needed to return the favor.

  9. The fact that the paper endorsed Obama shouldn’t have any impact on their coverage of him. Editorial policy doesn’t impact news coverage, something that’s both a standard newspaper ethics position and a stated one by the WaPo.

    “G. Opinion

    On this newspaper, the separation of news columns from the editorial and opposite-editorial pages is solemn and complete. This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and “op-ed” pages.”

  10. Newspapers shouldn’t endorse any candidate whether it is editorial or coverage. Putting up the WaPo’s mission statement is about as worthless as Bernie Madoff’s mission statement promising 10% to 20% returns. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to.

  11. I think you’re in the minority opinion here, Geb; I’m not aware of any newspapers that don’t have editorial pages, though I am sure there must be a few. There’s certainly not the norm though.

    You may well get your wish, however, given the state of the newspaper business. It could very well shake out that the only news reporting operations to survive will be organizations like the AP who simply write stories. I’d bet my bottom dollar, however, that they’ll end up aggregated by organization that will editorialize and, inevitably, endorse candidates.

  12. Holly *bleep*! You mean the WaPo asked about ARod? What lows. How about -insert anything- instead?

    My Q: Mr. President, do you support full DC statehood with 3 voting representatives, or no representation but also no taxation, like Puerto Rico?

  13. It made for pretty good water cooler talk at the office – more than a few people poked fun at the “Penetrating, insightful journalism” of the rep for the Washington Post.

    Seriously – that’s the best the Post could come up with in that venue? I would have expected better from Entertainment Tonight or People Magazine.