By: E&P Staff
Today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan sent a message to the media: You’re out of (my) control, or words to that effect.
On Tuesday, reporters bristled when McClellan repeatedly expressed the expectation that Newsweek magazine would do something to help undo any damage it’s now-retracted Koran-abuse article might have caused abroad. Some reporters felt this sounded like he was pressuring the magazine to write an article on the White House’s terms. On Wednesday, at his daily briefing, McClellan was asked directly about this.
“In the aftermath of your comments yesterday,” a reporter asked, “some have suggested that you were trying to dictate to the press. How do you feel about the criticism of that?”
McClellan answered: “I kind of laugh at it because I don’t think that’s possible. We have a free media in the United States, and the only point I was making yesterday was that they said they got it wrong, this was a report that had serious consequences, people lost their lives, the image of the United States abroad was damaged by the report, and I think that there’s a responsibility to help repair the damage. … And I think that’s the point I was making yesterday.”
He was also asked if he had “heard from the magazine since urging them to take additional steps yesterday.”
“I haven’t,” McClellan replied. “I don’t think any — I don’t think anyone else has,” although he added
“I did point out yesterday and the day before, I think, that they have been in touch with the Department of Defense.”