Questioning Obama: The Pros vs. the Tweeters

Barack Obama took questions via Twitter at an event yesterday. The queries they posed didn’t impress everyone– Michael Shear of the New York Times wrote:

Most of the Twitter queries were not very tough-minded and gave the president the opportunity to repeat his talking points.

Yeah– leave the question-asking to the professionals, who apparently know how to get politicians to stray from their talking points (anyone who’s ever watched a White House press conference might find this unusual).

The real difference, though, is in what issues are worth asking questions about. On that score, the Twitter users have different priorities than the Beltway media, as this chart published in the Boston Globe makes pretty clear:

As Matthew Yglesias put it, the press likes to ask “process” questions, that mean nothing to most people, who happen to pay closer attention to politiics

because they’re worried about jobs or the environment or energy prices or taxes or something. It’s never because they’re wondering how the president reacted to Steny Hoyer’s remarks about Eric Cantor’s characterization of the Treasury secretary’s statement about the debt ceiling.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.