Within the self-involved newsrooms of America, there is much handwringing over ever-shrinking Washington bureaus. Why? They'd just as soon quit, from what we gather. Today's White House pool report from ace reporter Bill Theobald:
From: Theobald, William
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2009 4:29 PM
To: Finkenbinder, Benjamin N.
Cc: Hogan, Katherine J.
Subject: Pool Report No. 1
Here it is. Let me know you received it. Thanks.
Even though President Obama's departure was open press, your pool feels obligated to write something — if only to justify his day spent sitting in the White House briefing room.
Marine One touched down on the South Lawn of the White House at 3:42 p.m. About 10 minutes later, First Lady Michelle Obama emerged first with Sasha and another young girl, apparently a friend. President Obama followed, saying "nice day" to the gathered media as he walked to the helicopter. Malia Obama and Marian Robinson, the FGOTUS, followed and they climbed aboard Marine One.
President Obama was the last to enter, saluted the Marine at the foot of the steps, and turned and waved as he entered the door.
Wheels up at 3:55 p.m. on the first family's first trip to Camp David.
That's a lid.
Gannett News Service
Who is Ben Finkenbinder, the guy to whom Theobald emailed his report? His editor, perhaps? No. Finkenbinder (left) is one of the impossibly young former Obama campaign staffers working in the White House Press Office. Because access to the president is strictly limited, reporters take turns tailing the president in the hopes that something happens on their watch. The assigned reporter writes a "pool report," which is distributed to everyone participating in the system. And because the Washington press corps is hopelessly pliant and disorganized, reporters email their pool reports to the White House press office for distribution.
Surely a system which forces the likes of Theobald, an award-winning journalist previously best known for exposing the vicious pet-killers of Indianapolis, to email in reports on the president's whereabouts to some kid barely out of college is rotten to its core.