Two groups of people are annoyed that the administration collaborated with the Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney on a question about Iran: seasoned pool reporters invested in the pecking order who believe Pitney jumped the line, and partisan hacks whose concern for Iran disappears the moment an opportunity to denounce the media arrives.
As to the former, they are, to paraphrase Tim Crouse, journalistic Prufrocks who measure their lives in handouts, and Pitney had the audacity to receive more sooner than this collection of easy tools thought prudent. More significant, or at least more revelatory, is the response of those who have spent the past week full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse on the subject of Obama’s refusal to condemn Iran. They pressed Obama to use the word “condemn” itself, because any condemnation that doesn’t sets off their Neville detectors. No mere objection, they argue, no matter how strong, can rise to the level of a condemnation.
Now, in their mad rush to demonstrate the pervasiveness of liberal bias, they ignore the rather obvious symbolism the Obama administration employed here. At a moment in which the Iranian regime is doing its damnedest to prevent information about the situation on the ground from leaking, Obama grants an Iranian dissident the primacy of place in a news conference that will be broadcast the world over. Moreover, he calls attention to the fact that he’s breaking protocol in order to give voice to the very people the Iranian regime wants silenced.
With the whole world watching, Obama took a moment to humiliate Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. But because conservatives are compelled to follow their tedious argument of insidious intent to its tendentious conclusion, what should be a story about the regime being humiliated on the world stage becomes yet another media pseudo-scandal.