"Obama says Air Force One travel is 'not my choice'’ in sharp exchange"
The story is from an interview President Obama gave to Larry Conners, anchorman at KMOV-TV, the CBS affiliate here in St. Louis. Mr. Conners has had a long career (over twenty-five years) in local television journalism; before this he worked at then-ABC affiliate KTVI, and before that he was best known as one of the reporters who busted the Chicken Ranch brothel, the story which became the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
. Mr. Connors has always been a politically conservative newsman, a trait he mostly keeps quiet but which occasionally bursts out as it did this evening. He did a series of promos for his "exclusive" interview, where he asked no questions you wouldn't find on the Fox News Channel, including a gripe about Presidential vacations which ignored the vastly greater number and length of trips to Crawford Ranch by George W. Bush.
What really got me was the amazing way he channeled the late Ted Knight's character Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
. For a newsman as experienced as he, he simply had no idea of how he appeared on the screen as he trumpeted his two-question interview. I haven't seen so many Ted Baxterisms since the late George Putnam served as Mr. Knight's model for a pompous, loud newsman. I kept thinking of the episode in which Baxter got temporary White House credentials and practiced his revealing, hard-hitting questions such as "Mr. Secretary of State, do you sleep in the nude?"
Mr. Conners' exchange with the President was not sharp, it was a waste of the most coveted item in Washington, time with the President. (Witness the story on The West Wing
in which the Domestic Policy Adviser, Toby Ziegler, had to ask
for the first two minutes available in President Bartlet's schedule.)
I have never been more ashamed of a local reporter, particularly a man with enough lifetime career experience to know better. Current Mood: disappointed