Rich Galen

Forget about soccer games, Obama has not held a press conference since July 21, 2009. Think about George W. having gone nearly nine months without a formal press conference.

Chris Matthews would be apoplectic. Keith Olbermann would have had another nervous breakdown.

There has been no coverage of this nuclear summit because Obama didn't want reporters … reporting on it.

Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post, began his complaint about the way the press has been treated during this summit thus:

"World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.

[The] "leader of the free world" was putting on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press."

No reporters were permitted in the sessions, and the amount of time the press was permitted to be in contact with any national leader was measured, literally, in seconds.

This was a summit to deal with the control of nuclear materials. It is a far cry from sneaking out to allegedly watch a school soccer game.

Like them or not, the tiny White House press corps is the eyes and ears for the other 300 million of us. Ignoring, hiding from, shutting out, and refusing to let those handful of people do their jobs on our behalf is a significant - a very significant - red flag.

If Barack Obama were simply exhibiting contempt for the press corps he might find many who agree with him. But, Obama is revealing disdain for the concept of being President in an open society.

The national press corps - whether they want Obama to succeed or fail - cannot ignore his scorn for the First Amendment.

Every other freedom depends upon it.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.