On Wednesday, Dana Milbank compares press policies during President Obama's summit to those of a Soviet regime. Such a comparison might not be out of place in many right-leaning publications, but this accusation comes in The Washington Post. Why is Obama's Washington a bit like "Soviet-era Moscow?" Because Milbank's not too happy with the limited role of the press in the Nuclear Security Summit:
The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama's eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: "I'm going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session" ... Finally, away from other leaders, Obama took reporters' questions for 20 minutes.
Milbank asserts that foreign reporters clearly "got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they're cracked up to be." He further suggests that Obama, by rebuffing the press so effectively, was "putting on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press."
How are conservatives reacting to this reporter's frustrated denunciation? A few are pleased the press's enthusiasm for Obama is finally beginning to wane, but the general reaction could best be described as a collective chuckle.
- Oh Please "I don’t know what’s more pathetic," writes Allahpundit at conservative Hot Air, "The One locking his fan club out of a two-day photo op or his fan club complaining that the two-day photo op really did end up being a photo op." He also points out that "if [the foreign leaders] were only here for two days and they were serious about getting something done ... then why not dispense with the spinfest of the ten-minute Q&A with Obama and each world leader and get down to business?"
- 'Dana Milbank Has a Fit,' summarizes Commentary's Jennifer Rubin, "when he learns this isn't the 'most transparent administration in history.'"
- Milbank's Got a Point Richard Fernandez at Pajamas Media takes the matter seriously: "In the short run it may be necessary to limit Press access at a summit of this nature. But in the long run any world political system which is hostile to transparency will fail utterly at preventing the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction."