He writes that like it's news to us.
One need only look at his last press conference -- his first in daylight -- to validate that assessment. With the few hardened veterans who remain watching opened mouthed in amazement, Obama set up a scene that probably wouldn't have been possible "back in the day." He had arranged for a blogger from the Internet's Huffington Post to get a temporary press pass, told him what he wanted asked (a question from an Iranian citizen about his stance on that country's election protests) and then called on the person as though the whole thing were impromptu. Planted questions are rare but planted questioners are unheard of. Later correspondents went after press spokesman Robert Gibbs in what was described as a "food fight" over the incident at his regular daily briefing.
It is safe to say that had this been Obama's predecessor there would have been an enormous outcry lasting several days if not longer. During an unusually long press conference in the Oval Office in 1965, White House correspondents complained bitterly that there were people in the room who had been prompted by Lyndon Johnson and his staff to ask certain questions. It never happened again and the president's standing with the press took a hit.
Part of the problem is that so many of those 'hardened veterans' spent much of the presidential campaign basically refusing to dig into Obama's past, his words and actions; now they're finding out the guy they went into the tank for considers them expendable, and they don't like it. Well, guys, join the club.
Obama's ability to prepackage a press conference has been enhanced by the accelerating decline of the print media. Newspapers that would never have dreamed of letting a president go uncovered are now nowhere to be seen, leaving a vacuum to be filled by online reporters with only a smidgen of experience or understanding.
And while the major broadcast correspondents are still there for the time being, under the Obama rules that limit the number of questions that are allowed and the pre-selection of those who will ask them, they are marginalized. Most reporters now find themselves just window dressing for TV with no chance of getting in a question.
I'd argue that many of those online reporters have experience and understanding; the problem is, they were also- too many ARE- in the tank so far they need air piped in. Some of them are starting to fight it, but a lot of them are still covering for The Obama.
Nothing signified the end of the traditional, free wheeling give and take of this experience more than the forlorn image of the most recognizable person outside the president at the press conference. Much decorated Helen Thomas, formerly of United Press International and now a columnist for the Hearst newspapers, sat frail and unsmiling in the front row where she has been for decades. She tried once to get a question in only to be brushed off by Obama. A staff member even has usurped her role of thanking the president for his appearance.
Helen Thomas is as nasty and vicious a bigot as you'll find; I have to admit her being brushed off by The One, who she helped get into that office, is funny as hell. Payback's a bitch, ain't it?