"A Simple Question: Yes or No?"
In the age of raw online video and blogs, newsmakers can no longer easily dismiss reporter questions by repeating the same answer, say, twelve times in three minutes. The clip above illustrates the point. If you weren't curious about the senator -- or where he gets his suits -- you likely will be after watching this exchange.
The reporter pressing the hardest is Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Pioneer Press. Here's an updated partial transcript:
Reporter: ...Is there a reason the Senator won't say whether or not somebody else bought some suits for him?
Spokesman: Rachel, we've reported -- the Senator has reported every gift he has ever received.
Reporter: That wasn't my question, Cullen.
Spokesman: The Senator has reported every gift he has ever received. And we're not going to respond to unnamed sources on a blog.
Reporter: So, Senator Coleman's friend has not bought these suits for him? Is that correct?
Spokesman: The Senator has reported every gift he has ever received.
Reporter: Why can't you say that? Why won't you give us an answer -- yes or no -- on that?
Spokesman: He's reported every gift he has ever received.
Reporter: We haven't asked whether or not he's reported every gift he has ever received -- and I will take his word that he has reported every gift he has ever received. Has he ever received a gift of suits?
Spokesman: He's reported every gift he has ever received....
What's going on here? From The Columbia Journalism Review, headlined:
"E-gads! A blog!?!"
Blog. Say out it loud. Blog!
If you say it right, it almost sounds like a nasty word. (It’s got that hard plosive at the end.) It sounds especially nasty if you find a way to slip it into the right sentence.
Like this one:
“We’re not going to respond to unnamed sources on the blog.”
That’s part of what Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager for newly endangered Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, had to say yesterday at a cringe-inducing press conference.
You can read more of CJR's take at this link.
David Brauer of the Minnesota Post also has more on the interesting intersection of the blogosphere, politics, gifts, and the mainstream media.