Why does President Obama use a 'secret press list' when taking questions at a press conference? Is he afraid of the questions he might be asked? Is this an attempt to punish news organizations that are not obsequious enough? Perhaps, both reasons are in play. No other President has used a screened list at press conferences to my knowledge. There were allegations that the Obama campaign blacklisted certain news organizations during the election. Presidential Candidate Obama kicked several longtime corespondents off his campaign plane in a move to reward news outlets he liked and punish those he did not like. Now, he is using a screened list of reporters and he has moved the "lunatic left' to the front row for press conferences. This is why he is never asked any tough questions. Reporters are afraid of the consequences. This answers the question of why no major reporter ever asked Barack Obama about his failure to produce a 'vault copy' of his birth certificate or release his college records.
Obama's Press List
Membership shall have its privileges.
About half-way through President Obama's press conference Monday night, he had an unscripted question of his own. "All, Chuck Todd," the President said, referring to NBC's White House correspondent. "Where's Chuck?" He had the same strange question about Fox News's Major Garrett: "Where's Major?"
The problem wasn't the lighting in the East Room. The President was running down a list of reporters preselected to ask questions. The White House had decided in advance who would be allowed to question the President and who was left out.
Presidents are free to conduct press conferences however they like, but the decision to preselect questioners is an odd one, especially for a White House famously pledged to openness. We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors. Mr. Obama can more than handle his own, so our guess is that this is an attempt to discipline reporters who aren't White House favorites.(excerpted) read more at online.wsj.com