Why Are Some Reporters So Rude?

white house booth
We asked for your questions and you delivered. Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts has gone through the CBS News White House Booth inbox and takes his best shot at answering some of them.

I am very happy to ask this question to a White House reporter: Why are some reporters so rude? Why don't the reporters wait for an answer before running ahead to the next question?

I am noticing the rudeness more now than ever before. Why is there such an obvious lack of respect to the person being questioned, be it the President or some other official? I think it looks bad for the reporter.

Jane A. Mastantuono

Jane, I guess it's all a matter of what you consider 'rude.' The job of any White House Correspondent worth his or her salt is to attempt to get to the truth. This White House is extraordinarily adept at sticking to the message and not imparting any information during the briefing that it doesn't want out there. The Press Secretary comes to the briefing with a set of talking points and sticks to them fastidiously. So the reporters try to knock him off point, usually to no avail.

You also have to look at the history of White House briefings. In the past, they were much more of a free-for-all than they are now, with the reporter who could shout the loudest taking the floor. Nowadays, the Press Secretary works his way down the rows, calling on reporters in a far more orderly fashion. But there's still some of the free-wheeling environment of the old days left and that's what you see with interruptions, etc. It's just the way the game is played.

Now, I will admit that the daily briefing does include more than its fair share of inane and downright embarrassing questions, but that's part of the landscape as well.

What is the latest status on Mr. Bolton's nomination to the U.N.?

Nancy K.

Nancy, Bolton's nomination is on hold. Senate Majority Leader Frist lost two cloture motions on the Bolton debate and has not brought it back to the floor since. President Bush insists he'd prefer an up or down vote in the Senate on Bolton's confirmation, but a few Republican Senators believe that will never happen. So now the White House appears to be mulling over the prospect of a recess appointment for Bolton, which would be in effect only until the end of this Congress, which is in January of '07.