On CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday, panelist Terence Smith asked about last week’s historic interview of President Obama by Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America”: “What about ABC simply agreeing that the White House could select the correspondent. Does that bother anybody?” Yes, me! Though I don’t appear to have much company. Smith’s question got a lot of pushback from defenders of the ways of Washington. Host Howard Kurtz noted that Roberts was a co-anchor of “GMA.” Panelist Lauren Ashburn: “In the press room, you look at this every day: The president will call on certain people who are on a list and that list is predetermined by whom? The president.... So I think that they get to choose whoever they want. He is the president.”
Yes, he is the president — the most influential person anywhere. And that’s precisely why it’s so important that media outlets not allow him to make their editorial decisions. Commander in chief, yes; editor in chief, no.