Dana Milbank wasn't the only Beltway Villager all wanked out about President Obama prearranging a question with HuffPo's Nico Pitney yesterday. On Meet the Press, David Gregory pressed David Axelrod about it, suggesting that somehow this sort of thing is anti-democratic.David Waldman on Kos on "The End of the Drudge Era?":
We're perfectly aware that presidents have for some long time gone into these conferences with a prearranged list of reporters upon whom they are going to call. The result has been an immense trivialization of press conferences, because those "elite" reporters have demonstrated over the years their eagerness to indulge trivial, celebrity-media-driven questions at the expense of serious policy matters. In the process, they've become increasingly manipulable.
This trend reached its apotheosis back when Jeff Gannon was lobbing softball questions to President Bush and White House press secretary Scott McClellan. Not only was Gannon a phony journalist, he was being regularly selected to be among the main questioners at the daily briefings.
You can't have helped but notice the role that Twitter has played in the coverage of the events in Iran. And if you're a daily Twitter user, you probably got your first news of Michael Jackson's death that way.
But those events by themselves don't give us any particular reason to believe Drudge's influence is waning. Before you get to that, you have to take account of the explosion in popularity and acceptance Twitter has enjoyed among influential journalists working in the traditional media -- a story even hardened holdouts and Twitter-haters have doubtless heard by now.
That's the key factor, I think, in what I'm guessing is Twitter's eventually overtaking Drudge and robbing him of his influence. If the eyes of the journalists who drive the traditional media are getting their hottest, most rapidly-breaking news via Twitter, it could represent a sea change in how they view the news. And if that happens, it could change the way you'll view it, too.