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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Kinsolving Repeats Bogus Standing-For-Obama Meme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 5 WorldNetDaily article reports the question he would have asked in the daily White House briefing had he been called on to ask it: "The Drudge Report has shown videos of President George W. Bush entering this press room with none of the press reporters standing up for him, and then President Obama entering this room at which all reporters stood up. Question, was President Obama proud of this? Or did he regret it in consideration of his presidential predecessor?"

But that video is misleading and out of context. As Slate's John Dickerson reported:

It's a distorted picture, though. We stood all the time for President Bush. Reporters customarily do so to show respect for the office of the presidency. In the East Room of the White House, we stood not only when the president came in but to ask questions. Some reporters said thank you to the president even before asking their questions. This practice continues under President Obama.


There are different rules for the briefing room, though, which is the place both events on the video took place. It's more informal. (CBS's Mark Knoller talked to Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who confirmed that no offense was taken when the press didn't stand in the briefing room.) It's not that there is a no-standing policy, exactly, but more that the question is unresolved. The press didn't stand for Bush in February but did when the president visited the briefing room for the last time. When he held press conferences in the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building, the press did stand. Same with the Rose Garden.

[...]

Why, then, didn't the members of the press stay in their seats when Obama walked in last Friday? Unlike the Bush planned press conference in February, Obama's visit was a complete surprise (you hear fewer clicks because not every photographer is there), which meant the natural instinct to stand when a president enters the room may have kicked in as it did with Bush's last visit. As you can see from the video, they also ruined the shot, which means standing not only invited grief from conservatives but from their colleagues, too.

CBS reporter Mark Knoller reports further:

When some reporters stood up for President Obama last Friday, they forgot about the needs of their colleagues in the back of the room as well as the less formal atmosphere of the briefing room. Certainly it was a sign of respect for the president, but not one of disrespect for his predecessor.

It was President Obama’s first time at the briefing room lectern since taking office and for some new members of the White House Press, it was their first time seeing a president enter the room as well. 

Tim Graham at NewsBusters also made a big deal about this, but has since failed to tell the full story.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT

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