Opinion: D.C. journalists to Scott McClellan: Huh?

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The Bush White House wasn’t the only crew stung by Scott McClellan‘s scorching new memoir about his experiences as the president’s press secretary.

McClellan also lashed out at the Fourth Estate, saying the national press corps ‘was probably too deferential to the White House’ when it came to questioning whether going to war in Iraq was justified.

An unscientific sampling of Washington journalists expressed puzzlement about McClellan’s criticism -- or dissed it as downright hooey.

‘It’s a stunning and unsupportable statement,’ pronounced Mark Knoller, CBS Radio correspondent. ‘Transcripts of McClellan’s press briefings provide more than ample evidence of the intense scrutiny imposed on the White House and its policies by members of the press. Most days, McClellan left the briefing room lectern positively spent by the pounding he faced from reporters.’


ABC’s Ann Compton was perplexed: ‘Is Scott suggesting the White House press corps can stop, or start wars?’

David Gregory, NBC News’ chief White House correspondent, opined: ‘I think he’s wrong.’ He added: ‘I think we pushed, I think we prodded. ...The right questions were asked.’

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank resorted to a press secretary (McClellanesque?) sort of dodge: ‘I defer to Scott on this point,’ he said in an e-mail.

— Stuart Silverstein

Photo Credit: AP