Helen Thomas is exactly correct when she calls Gibbs out on this. She says (h/t Hot Air) :
“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.
“What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”
Gibbs is clearly uncomfortable and trying to move on, change the subject, laughing nervously.
Now we have the revelation (see No Sheeples Here) that the poor woman with cancer was a plant, a pre-screened participant who received her ticket from The White House.
So much for transparency and openness. This is interesting on one level because we're seeing in this briefing that the press is turning on the administration. Once fawning lapdogs are now starting to see the truth. Chip Reid makes the correct point when he says just open the town hall up and let regular people ask the questions. That is, by definition, what a town hall meeting is. Otherwise it's just a campaign stop.
And why, exactly doesn't the administration do just that? Why don't they have a real town hall meeting - even a series of them across the country - with real people, not plants and no pre-screened questions? With Obama you must always ask "why?" Why doesn't he do this?
Because he wants to control the situation. He wants to control the questions and the answers and he wants to control what you hear. He wants to control what you believe about the issue, whatever the issue happens to be. There's no openness here. No transparency. That promise expired a long time ago when we figured out that bills and legislation would not really be posted online for five days before signing.
It didn't take too long for the press to figure it out. My next question is how long before people like Nico Pitney get sick of being used by Obama?