CBS News yesterday refused to take part in a pool of White House correspondents selected to meet this morning with President Carter in an effort to iron out recent media difficulties in coverage of the fast-moving new occu- [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES]
PoPwell had arranged the informal talks after complaining to the President that the latter's unannounced visit to the Kennedy Center and, most recently, his highly quotable walk around Plains, Ga. Last weekend, had strained Powell's credibility with the media.
In the latter case, Powell last week had told the media there was to a "total lid" on the President's home-town weekend. He was himself caugh by surprise when Mr. Carter turned a casual afternoon walk into a full-fledged press conference that many correspondents missed.
But when CBS bureau chief Sanford Socolow was called to join ABC and NBC colleagues here in selecting a TV representative to the meeting, he declined to put up a netword correcspondent for the draw.
Eventually, by a flip of a coin, ABC's Sam Donaldson was chosen over NBC's Marilyn Berger to attend today's 10:30 a.m. meeting.
"We just didn't think we should be a party to this sort of thing," Socolow said yesterday. "It isn't up to us to advise the President on how to have the liberty to do this thing and for us to have the liberty to do ours."
The incident has amused other White House correspondents. They point out that CBS's Bob Schieffer has been one of the most severe critics of Powell at daily briefings particulary after President and Mrs. Carter sneaked out of the White House a week ago to attend a performance of "Madame Butterfly" at the Kennedy Center.
They also point to the upcoming national radio call-in show that President Carter will conduct for two hours the afternoon of March 5 over CBS Radio, with that network's Walter Cronkite acting as moderator.
Others in today's meeting, besides Donaldson, will be Larry O'Rourke, president of the corrrespondents association and White House correspondent for the afternoon Philadelphia Bulletin; Paul F. Healey, for the morning New York Daily News; Frank Cormier of Associated Press and Wes Pippert of UPI, representing the wire services; John Mashek of U.S. News and World Report, magazines; and Clifford Evans of RKO Broadcasting, radio.
O'Rourke and Powell arranged today's meeting.