tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 31, 2015 6:00am-7:01am EDT
but when we travel that number is 13. they are on air force one with the president, everywhere they go. they are sending feeds back to their peers to report what is going on. kathleen is a member of the permanent pool. hp is always with the president. that is rare that we have heard right here, right now. why do you spend so much time making sure that they are watched all the time? of darkimes it is sort and a lesson of history in the
heat -- and that the president wants to do things and people sometimes want to do harm to the president of the united states. and we have decided we have to be there, we have to be in the motorcade. we have to be near him should anything happen. that is a part of the core. at is that heof is arguably the most important reason to washington. how he spends his time is always of public interest. there is very little that the president does or says that is completely inconsequential. we really do want to hear what he is saying. what he issaying is doing, and who he is golfing with and who he is dining with
it seems crazy and i know it makes some in the white house crazy, but it is the truth of him being as important as he is and as public as a figure as he is. myis really just organization in a lot of the organizations have come with the celebrities and to make sure that everything he says and does oversight under some from eyes that are on him. it can become counted -- can become complicated. why you have to have the constant watch, including the president and his spending a house.time in the white when you were watching the president and keeping up with his dailies agile, are there things you learn from just being there?
>> yes. he will not learned from the public schedule. you have to be there, you've to be seen coming up to be around, you have to know who the players are. recently out walking into the white house and i saw people coming out of the white house as they looked closely. they do withilies and i said what are you doing we finishedey said meeting with the president. i found off with committees they were on, so i learned a little bit more. we always have our phones because our sources could tell us something that is going on. president. with the and being there, you get a chance to talk to the
newsmakers, talk to the principles. it is about trust and relationships. candy bet you feel the talked to they will give you information and breaking news. it is important to be in the building. cost not a kind place it -- claustrophobic's need not apply. i am in a place that looks like a phone booth. the rhineland london phone booth, about that size. that when we started, a lot of times you filed your story from there. you would literally colin and dictate the story from a phone booth. and you have to pick a hand set up and you dial, did not have electricity. >> your point was about getting
a sense of what is happening. april ryan: a lot of times they are told not to say anything. if you have that relationship, they will talk to you on your cell phone. on their personal cell phone, about what happened and what was said. it is important to be there, be seen, be a part of the mix, be in the pool, be a part of the white house press corps. you are only as good as your last story. if you are not advancing a story, what good are you? that is how it is viewed at the white house. it is the best of the best. >> analysis available all over the television, in newspapers, magazines, online, and that is really important and viable.
a lot of time people are working with their own original reporting, but often it is broken out of the white house. very often it is just as simple as the president looks down today. why was he upset? i remember the body language being important leading up to the surge. the reporting was very intuitive, people trying to get a sense of the white house. robert gibbs was close to the president, and when he seemed agitated or frustrated, i thought that is a reflection of something.
i think i will make a couple of extra phone calls to see what is happening. that first draft of history that the press corps is writing comes from your impressions of being there. jim acosta is someone who is great at breaking through the white house din. the president is good at crafting a message, telling a story, his communications staff is also good. jim, the job of a reporter is not just taking what is said in retelling it. talk about that. jim acosta: that's right. i was thinking about this -- there are a couple of different episodes that bring to mind the spin machine that goes on at the white house. one of the most recent examples is when the president was going to the american university to deliver the speech on the iran nuclear deal. in the run-up to that speech, they had allowed us to draw the comparison between jfk in the 1960's.
we're saying this is going to be like jfk going to an american university and say that we are willing to pay any price. what the president ended up doing was a very partisan speech. i remember the next day just thinking to myself, or even later that day, the spin they were putting out there that this was going to be like jfk, but when the president was going to deliver a partisan speech to rally the democrats behind him. there was opposition in his own party from jewish-american democrats. i was thinking that we need to call them out on this. we did that story that evening and pointed out that this president has been saying -- and here he goes up to american university, leading us to think that he is going to deliver this
jfk, style speech, and he really went after the republicans. i use that example to show that we can sometimes fall prey to the spin. another example, in the white house briefing room, i think that is the best place to try to cut through that spend. you have to be careful, because those of us in the front row can i know those behind us because we can ask too many questions and take too long, and april knows this. sometimes that first question you ask, you will get the talking points.
i have no problems cutting in and directing that line of questioning somewhere else if i'm the getting the answer i need. i remember one day, kristi you and i talked about this, the day that they did not have somebody in charge of the ebola response. the next day or two, i felt like laser beams coming out of their eyes at me. they were not happy about it. we would like to be friendly with these people, but it's not like we are going to go bowling with them. we are not buddies. we are there to hold their feet to the fire and hold people accountable. >> you failed to state that we ask questions, and that question perpetuated the fact that there became an ebola leader. at the same time, our questions help shape policy. we ask questions. it is cyclical. we find out what the community is saying, outside the white
house, and throw a question to them and asked someone to find out more research. and sometimes it doesn't shape policy. that is one thing as well. jim acosta: they realize that nobody was in charge. april ryan: they were talking about so many things. we had something that we had never seen before, coming into this nation, infected, died, nurses were infected, other people said it was a real situation. jim acosta: i don't want to put this out there too much, but cameras are rolling. you get e-mails. if they don't like what you are
saying, you will get an e-mail. from the white house. or phone call. there may be some language in that e-mail or phone call that i can't use here on c-span, but it can be tough, and you have to have thick skin going in there. then skin need not apply. you have to be on your a game. you also have to have alligator skin, because they will come after you. >> for anyone who aspires to work in washington in any field, alligator skin is really helpful. i want upon's for just a minute
and ask you to start thinking about some questions you might like to ask the panel. in just a moment, we will open up those microphones and you can let us know what is on your mind. i want to take a moment -- we have been talking about how we do our job. we should talk about a little bit about what that means for readers, viewers, and listeners who consume our reporting. not just for americans, but for people around the world trying to understand the presidency. this is a pretty good representation of the white house press corps. we have three women, an african-american, a cuban-american. i come from a conservative part of the country. do you think that diversity is important in the press corps. you think that the makeup of the press corps, asking questions, makes a difference in what people learn here and read about the american presidency? kathleen hennessey: absolutely. every day there is a briefing where we all sit down and fire
questions at the white house. a lot of those questions are predictable, but a lot of them are a reflection of what the reporters in the room know a little bit about, care a little bit about, the way they are framed sometimes has to do with your personal experience. you do bring that to the job. it comes through in a very public way in terms of what the white house has to answer for and respond to, and that matters. it shapes stories, policy to some degree. i think it is good for the state of media in this country to look and appeared to be representative to people who are
reading the stories. i think especially even in a campaign setting to have people from all over the country who understand a little bit about the midwest in ohio or florida, or where ever the place we are pretending to be experts on. i spent a lot of time in nevada covering the latino community there and the booming rise of a growing city. that couldn't be further from some of the expenses of the people in ohio where we spend a lot of time campaigning in general elections. to have a breadth of knowledge is good. christi parsons: how has the press corps done it covering the first african-american president?
april ryan: we cover him. being the first african-american president puts an added pressure. i believe -- i'm just going to say it, and i'm not being partisan or saying this because he is african-american. i am looking at this as a journalist and i've seen how we have come together as a group. and also cover as a group. i believe that sometimes he is not placed in the best light. sometimes he is placed in the best light, but i believe there is a major hypersensitivity because he is african-american, particularly when it comes to issues in the african-american
community. race will always follow him, always. the first term, the white house was very cognizant of the fact of him as president of the united states that they had to navigate the water strategically to get to that second term. the media kept harping, the white house press corps, especially when he made that gaffe or freudian slip when he wanted to come out talking issues, but went instead by heart instead of talking points, typically what he would do. the media jumped on that, and they jumped on the beer summit. we did not see as much of that until the trayvon martin issue, and now are seeing a totally different president come second term barack obama is different from first term barack obama. the media are pouncing on it more. i think while they are pouncing on it, it is also for the greater good because we are now seeing what african-american communities have been talking about for a long time, this tension with the black community and law enforcement. it's not saying you don't support law enforcement.
you're supposed to support law enforcement, but there is some bad policing, and now we are seeing it be caught on tape. for one thing, it's a good thing, because it is helping to hold people to the fire, accountability there, and at the same time, it is unfortunate that he had to be held at a different level by the media and the public because he is african-american. he is president of all america. the double edged sword. christi parsons: you're alluding to the discussions he has promoted concerning how police relate to their communities. are these changes that he feels -- do you think these are changes that are a result of the fact that he is now at the end of the second term and now does not have a political price to pay or that people around the
world know who he is now besides just the first african-american president? we know a great deal about him based on his record. april ryan: one, because he is an african american. he is a black man in america who has experience a lot of this. two, there are variables out there. some days you can plan which are going to talk about, but when there is something that hits, and a lot of these issues hit on a large scale, they made it to the desk of the president or eyes watching on tv, because we are watching the news that you are doing.
when trayvon martin happened, the crowds came out. when we saw with the freddie gray situation. the white house response to what america is saying. so he had to respond as president. there is an extra burden because he is a black man. also, second turn, he does not have anything to worry about. we are seeing a totally different barack obama second term.
you're a totally different person. he is able to do things now that he was not able to do before. i do think there is a different standard for him, and they understand it. it is what it is at this point. christi parsons: jim, i want to ask you a related question. your dad is an immigrant from cuba. you are also cuban-american. does this matter to you? does this matter to eat what your viewers learn and what you report about the president? in the last few months, you have talked about and written about the opening of relations with cuba. that is a story to which you brought a certain perspective or life experience to. does that affect your coverage? jim acosta: my dad emigrated in 1962, 3 weeks before the cuban this crisis. my aunt was reading the newspaper, thought this was an good, got on a pan am flight, and that's how they came over. i sometimes refer to my dad as one of the original dreamers. he came over when there weren't a lot of latino immigrants in this country. i was telling april before we
got started his name -- and he changed it to aj acosta. yeah, you do have that human history, that personal history that you bring to the table when you are doing this. we have a presidential candidate out there right now who recently said that the mexicans who are coming into this country are rapists and killers, and he is said i assume some of them are nice people. imagine that the president of the united states were to say that from the oval office, from the briefing room. i think these are questions that people have to think about when they approach this. having said that, talking about first half obama versus second half obama, one of the presidents promises was immigration reform. here we are, hasn't happened. he didn't do it when he had a majority in congress. you do think about those things. on the policy with cuba, i just never thought something like this would ever take place in my lifetime, and it just goes to show you come in speaking of second half obama, this was one of those things where they thought, let's wait to the second term, after the midterms of the second term, fourth-quarter to do this. so there might be some more surprises. the politics of it are very interesting when it comes to
cuban policy. he may go to cuba. the white house says to not rule it out. april and i will be fighting to get on that plane first. that will be a hell of a story. christi parsons: this president has shown a willingness to do executive orders, immigration being a perfect example. your point is well taken that we have 17 months let to go, and he still has things to check off the list. when he runs out of the things he can do with congress, there are things he can do strict they on his own authority. i don't know what time it is. as somebody watching the time for me? anybody? they took my phone when i came
in here. if somebody from the washington center could give me a sense -- 10:36, so we have time for questions. i'm going to invite you to the microphones now. one or two people on each aside. jim acosta: here we go. fire away. we get a taste of our medicine now. christi parsons: why don't we start with you. >> good morning. i just want to thank you guys for coming out this morning and talking. i'm interning. a lot of the republican debate a few days ago was based around the mainstream media being an
extension of the democratic party. i just want to hear your thoughts on that and possibly whether or not you support or debunk that theory. christi parsons: great question. i've been thinking about a lot since that debate. does anybody want to start? april ryan: i think that is a safe thing -- a lot of people always want to come up swinging at the media. there are some people who put opinion with fact, but for many of us in the white house, we definitely get all the sources, not one or two sources. we may push the fact. it may be something you don't like, but we put it out there. they can talk about the media all they want, but they are the
first ones looking to the media to find out what is going on in this country. it is a double-edged sword, but trust me, we are good people and good journalists. i am not in anyone's pocket. you can assume what you want about me -- democrats think i'm a republican and republicans think i'm a democrat, so i'm doing my job. [laughter] [applause] jim acosta: i just want to echo that. i remember when i was covering the romney campaign. in this age of twitter, you can look at your mentions and people coming after you on twitter, and i had so much hate coming at me from republicans who just hated the stuff that i did on mitt romney. now i get it from liberals on twitter who don't like what i'm talking about when it comes to talking about president obama. walter cronkite used to say that. i used to work at cbs, and walter cronkite used to say if you are getting hit by the right and left, you must be doing something right. i think there's some truth to that. one thing i will say, and i find it interesting about this audience, is that i'm pretty sure just about everybody here grew up -- except for us on the stage and those running the event -- grew up in this age of
partisan media. april, we did not grow up with fox news, msnbc. there were newspapers that took points of view and endorsed candidates, but it is not what it is now. for those of us who grew up in a different era, it's not unheard of to be objective, to be the refs who can call it fair and square on both sides. but i do understand that mentality. "you guys just have opinions and you are letting your opinions affect your stories." we would not be where we are if that were the case. we had too many editors who would go, "you are out of there. you are not doing your job right." it is a system of checks and balances within our own bureaus. kathleen hennessey: i would add
that we are not perfect, either. there was a lot of criticism on that debate and how it was managed and handled, and that's all fair and good, and we should be scrutinized, and people should debate how we do our jobs, and i think viewers also have to be mindful that -- you were talking about the mainstream media being an arm of the democratic party -- that is a long-standing political complaint of the republican party, and it works for them, right? there's a political reason for some of those folks to come out and complain about the media. the president of the united states loves to complain about the media. our current democratic president of the united states is a media critic. i feel it might be his second
job. when he gets out of office he might write media criticism because he has a lot of thoughts about it. i do think we go from both sides, and we should because we play an important role, and people should be watching what we do closely. jim acosta: cokie roberts used to have an expression that our only bias is for a good story. for the professionals in this business, that is true. the bias is you want a good story, to break news. that is much more valuable, i think, to all of us up here than trying to skew things one way or the other. it's too transparent, too obvious if that is what you are doing. christi parsons: yes? >> i'm working at american legislative exchange council.
i would like to ask you that, as you already mentioned, about the iran nuclear deal. some of the people did not like it. actually, a lot of people did not like it, and there were several protests about it. i would like to ask you how you respond to these sorts of situations and what course of action do you take when a decision or situation of that kind happens and because you work closely with the white house. christi parsons: are you asking how we remain impartial when we analyze even though we are at the white house and hearing their point of view so much? is that what you mean? >> yes, exactly. do you have to act neutral about it? christi parsons: well, yes. we don't have to just act neutral about it. we need to be neutral. neutral is the only stance from which to do appropriate reporting. there's an awful lot of opinion media in the world today, and you can hear, like, opinions without end on the internet and on tv, but really, what reporters at the white house are trying to do is find as many facts as we can and get them to you. you just cannot do that if you are not neutral. you cannot get people to be straight with you. you cannot get people to be forthright with you. kathleen hennessey: it does, also, speak to one of the dangers of covering the white house. it's true. you are there to know what the white house is thinking, so you
really do talk to a lot of people who think -- or agree. right? that is your job, to know what the white house is saying and what they are thinking. so i think there is sort of a bubble effect sometimes where you spend a lot of time talking to white house officials, and it can seep in, so you do have to fight against that. one of the ways is to make sure -- i think journalism as a team effort. you have to talk to your colleagues who are talking to folks at the state department and the pentagon and all over washington. folks on the hill. make sure you get out of the white house, have sources outside the white house, and just draw from a bigger pool to combat what you're talking about, i think, which is only hearing one side of the story all day long. april ryan: kathleen is right, and also, you have to bring the history into it. i think history plays an important part when it comes to
issues like this. you have to remember conversations you had in the past with president, private conversations, and with people on the national security council and then go outside. one of the most dangerous things in the white house -- it's a friendly adversarial relationship, but i think it's more dangerous for the white house to know that we do not rely solely on them. we go outside. you cannot just listen to what they say. you have to have outside sources to talk to people, to flush the
story out because they will spin it one way, and the other side will spin it another way. you need some other people here. we try to use the information as it comes from all sides and give you the history so you know what may be the right or wrong thing. in that issue, you really need intelligence to talk about the fact -- you know, you did not know what was going on in iran before, and i think that is the key piece. we leave it to you to decide -- does this actually let you know what is going on with iran as far as their nuclear capability? it's a lot of pieces to the puzzle versus saying, "i feel this way." it is a lot of pieces to adequately inform you to make your decision. jim acosta: i will say very quickly on the iran nuclear deal, i think maybe the thrust of what she was asking is well, it's an unpopular thing, why didn't the media report it as such or hit it harder? i will remind you that prime minister benjamin netanyahu of israel came to the united states, spoke before congress, and that received extensive coverage. so i think both sides were aired pretty adequately during that debate, but the outcome did not agree with people on the republican side of the aisle, and they may have the last -- i don't want to say the last laugh on this, but certainly the last say on this if it ends up being not what it was cracked up to be. christi parsons: let's go to to this question over here.
>> i intern at the american foundation for suicide prevention. my question to you is being white house correspondents, what is it like to cover mass shootings, since we had an increase in those the last few years? ms. parsons: great question. ms. hennessey: i think, unfortunately, it is sort of repetitive or kind of protectable these days. i mean, we don't -- we are there -- our role, usually, is to find out when the president was made aware. what does he know about the incident on the ground?
these days, it is typically covering presidential remarks where he comes out and renews his call to gun control, and that is a pattern that is really kind of set. on that level, it's a little depressing, really, but nothing like the people who have to go and cover these on the ground. so you get used to sort of the -- the cycle, i guess. ms. parsons: there are certain kinds of stories that infuse the white house when they are happening, and that is one of them. that is one of them. those mass shootings are now so regular, and they hit the president and hit policy staff very hard when they happen because they feel this great sense of frustration because they have not been able to stop it, and this phenomenon has really proliferated during the obama white house. when that happens -- and i mean, it happens every day, by the way. there's a mass shooting in this country on average once a day. more than one person being shot
and the shooter being -- having a gunshot as well. by that definition, there's a mass shooting in this country almost every day, so there's a real sense of sadness that goes with it. i did a story in the past week about how this was once the president's approach to gun control, and i think that one thing we try -- i try very hard to do at the white house is exactly what kathleen said, which is to step away from that -- whatever the white house fixation is or the white house point of view and to try to inform the conversation more fully with information, evidence, data from the outside. ms. ryan: just a quick note -- yesterday because the president just was in chicago talking to the police chiefs -- the international association of
police chiefs -- and gun control was one of the issues. at the briefing i did ask how you move it forward. i asked something along the questions of is it now time to bring the nra to the table, and josh earnest said something like "in 2013" and i said, "what about 2015?" when the president comes to the podium having to address america about another mass shooting and no change in backgrounds, gun show loopholes all that stuff. mr. acosta: i just want to say for the young people who are here, you guys have to solve this problem. for you guys to have grown up with this mass shooting epidemic in this country -- it's horrendous. i think if there's anything that we need fresh thinking on, it's this problem. the gun problem, the mental illness problem. how we put these things together and solve it in a way that does not bring out all the partisan disagreement. i would love to see the people in this room get to work on that
one. >> i am interning at the aatce. this administration has been known for exploring other types of media other than the traditional media -- mr. acosta: we love this topic! >> the personal twitter account, to which we all know that he does not like peas in his guacamole. in your opinion, how has that impacted the relationship between the press corps and white house? ms. parsons: that really hits us where we live. great question. how much time do you have? mr. acosta: do you have another hour? ms. parsons: estimate who has covered barack obama since 1995 when he was in the illinois senate and i was therefore the beginning of his presidential campaign, and immediately what set him apart was his ability to go around the established media because there were these blossoming avenues,
opportunities for him to take his message directly to his target audience, to give a particular message to a particular audience, and his opportunity to do that has only grown while he has been president. i don't know if you ever go to the white house website and look at what they have there, but they have their own tv show, and it's pretty good. i mean, it's, like, well produced and has a lot of information. we watch it because they have information we only learn there. they have a lock on that information. the white house photographer is my former colleague at "the chicago tribune," a wonderful photographer with almost unlimited access to the president. those pictures come out on his -- ms. ryan: twitter account. instagram account. flickr account. ms. parsons: they do not have periscope yet, but that's
probably right around the corner. mr. acosta: not only is barack obama the first african-american president, he is the first social media president. the do that interview with the lady who is famous for doing the thing where she sat in a bathtub of froot loops. it got millions of viewers. this is like gangbusters. let's bring her in here. she called michelle obama the first wife instead of the first lady -- i know. that was a lot of fun. it is one of the obstacles we have to overcome because they can just go around us now and find these new alternative places to get their message across. we're like, "wait a minute! what about cnn? we have twitter. we have things like that, too." they would so much rather play in those sandboxes and play with
us. ms. ryan: because we ask the tough questions. ms. parsons: i was going to get to that point because sometimes, the president does choose to go around the traditional media with people he knows will ask tough questions or questions he is not completely prepped for. it's not entirely to avoid tough questions, but that's usually our complaint. when you talk to xyz blogger, the follow-up questions are not what we would ask, so they do not seem to us like the toughest questions. let's be honest -- they are just not. ms. hennessey: there's two phenomena happening. i feel like there's the president going around us and getting people where they live, going to "people" magazine, whatever.
people who do not read the ap would find it. that has happened for a really long time and, frankly, might just be smart and we just have to accept it. the other thing this white house does it is also new and remarkable is the way they generate more of their own content and feed it out in ways that is not always identifiable as not journalism. that they are able to create their own television shows, their own tweets, their own photographs. it looks like journalism, kind of feels like journalism, but it's produced by the white house. mr. acosta: it is often to get a policy position a cross. they did a lot of that social media to talk about obamacare in a way that they got all the airtime they wanted to talk about what they wanted to talk about without having to go through us. when they do it on their own time with their own outlets that they have hand-picked, they do not have to answer those questions quite as much. ms. parsons: that was a great question.
yes. >> i'm from university of new hampshire. you mentioned a couple of times that you guys are the ones writing the first draft of history every day, so with that, do you think the obama administration's foreign-policy legacy will be remembered positively or negatively? mr. acosta: that's a good one. i think that when your biography is written and you are the president who called the order to take out osama bin laden, it is very difficult if you do not like barack obama to expect that his biography will be this terrible disaster. it is going to be remembered that he made that call, like it or not. at the same time, he's also the president who said, "i'm going to wind down the wars in iraq and afghanistan." as we know with what is happening with isis and the decision that was made recently was not pulling all our stakes up in afghanistan by the end of the term, that those wars will go on with the next president,
and these are people who are more hawkish than barack obama. the iran nuclear deal was brought up earlier, and it's another x factor that may also have an impact on his legacy. but i think the killing of osama bin laden is a big one from a historical standpoint in my view. ms. ryan: as donald trump say, it's huge. it's huge. [laughter] ms. ryan: i hate to say this -- you guys laugh, but we talk amongst ourselves. donald trump -- with all jokes aside, there are some people who are running for president that could be president. you are laughing. i'm not trying to be funny. i mean, you are laughing, but he is still high in the polls. he's not falling off or walking away. you are laughing, but this is really serious. [laughter]
ms. parsons: ok, back to the original question, some of the facts are not known yet. we do not know how the iran nuclear deal has worked out. we do not know if the opening relationship with cuba is going to achieve the things that the obama administration wants it to achieve, but to a large degree, the answer to your question depends on who you are talking to. are you a person who thinks the u.s. should be moving to a more multilateral approach to the rest of the world, or do you think it is weak for the president to keep trying to build coalitions everywhere he goes? do you think it is a bad idea that the president has not fully drawn down troops, but he has dramatically reduced the american involvement in ground war and absolutely refuses to enter into another one -- do you think that is a good idea, or do
you think the u.s. now has a weaker position as a leader and as a military force around the world? to analyze your question, i need to know -- you know, there's a lot of data to be analyzed on both sides. now it's your turn. yes? >> good morning. my question is regarding coverage of policing in the media. as we know, there are millions of interactions between police and the community every single day. it seems to me personally that there's a lot more coverage and a lot more in-depth stories about the negative interactions of the police in the community, and they seem to be getting more media attention in the positive interactions with the police and the community, especially lately, which is a good income of it at the same time, do you think that makes an impact on the community's perception of all police, specifically
speaking the "good cop" that do not have these negative interactions with the community? ms. parsons: that's a really good question. [applause] ms. hennessey: i actually think again because we were so narrowly focused on the white house, i do sense the white house is trying to walk this line a little bit. april mentioned the president talked to police chiefs this week. it was an interesting speech and that he was really struggling to try to acknowledge what he said about police brutality, his support for the black lives matter movement, his own experiences, and also not antagonize law enforcement, who actually he needs their support on gun control and some other
issues that he cares a lot about. he is walking that line personally. i noticed -- i don't know if you guys did -- yesterday or this week there was a viral video of the police officer dancing "the whip," and it's really fun. with a young woman -- i don't know where they are. somewhere in d.c. there was some sort of mild confrontation. she was trying to get the young girl to leave the corner or do something, and they basically got into a dance off, and it's fabulous video. mr. acosta: didn't obama tweet about that? ms. hennessey: the white house tweeted it out. ms. ryan: i don't know how to do it. my kids would try. ms. hennessey: the power of the whip and nae nae. they also were trying to when they have a moment seize it.
ms. ryan: one thing in how i report things and how i go about it and how my network treats things -- news is about something that is extraordinary or uncommon. we have law enforcement in this nation that for the most part is great. fact -- we have some issues in this nation that have been videotaped. how do you marry them? that has gone to the leader of the free world, to his desk. and then you have these organizations that are upset because media is covering it and some people internalize it and take it the wrong way. instead of trying to make positive change -- and you also have people out here who make it opinion, but there is a fact that we have great policing out here. i'm from baltimore. i grew up with officer finley coming into my school room and talking to us and community policing. but then you see that there is a
problem that needs to be fixed. it does not mean that everyone is bad. i don't know who was reporting it. i know there are people who have opinions and say things, but it does not make it right, and you have to find a way to marry the support and fixing the problem. i think any good journalist would really put that out versus saying the police departments are all being chastised. it's called weeding out issues. and they are not just problems with the black or latino community. there are problems with white people as well. it could be excessive force and control. there's a problem that needs to be fixed. that's it. that's the simple answer. ms. parsons: i think we probably have time for two more questions. let's go to this question are over here. >> my question is -- working in the white house, what do you think is the major issue that needs attention or policy change that you have experienced or
needs more attention to it? mr. acosta: you guys go. i said guns earlier. that has got to be solved in this country. it's one of those -- the nra has so frightened politicians in this town to touch anything related to guns that it's just not going to -- i don't think that is going to get solved unless there is some sort of -- and we thought that the sandy hook tragedy was going to be that catalyst, and even that was not enough to get is done -- get things done. even when universal background checks is supported by the vast majority of americans -- i think almost nine out of 10 americans -- and it could not get done because of the power of the nra. it's one of those stories that we cover fairly extensively when one of these mass shootings pop up, but then it sort of goes by the wayside. ms. parsons: i don't think education gets nearly the coverage that it should, and that's in the media writ large. it has to do with how widespread
the whole enterprise is, but at's a big problem in this country. everything else we talk about that here relates to it, and it's almost -- it's probably the least -- if you were to list the top 20 things people talked about or broadcasted about in the last week, i bet that would be at the bottom. ms. hennessey: i would actually have to agree with you on that. when arne duncan recently announced he was resigning, it was a moment in the white house press corps where we all had to remember when was the last time we wrote about education. it's just not a daily topic, but actually, federal policy does really -- people have strong opinions about it, too. it's actually coming up in the presidential race here and there, particularly jed bush -- particularly jeb bush. it's a matter of news outlets not having the resources to hire someone who is an expert in that topic. >> does it bother you or offend you as professional journalists when the president goes on weekday shows like "the view"
and hang out with whoopi goldberg, who i personally love, or hang out with zach galifianakis on late-night tv to talk about policy instead of talking to professional journalists and professional media superstars such as yourselves? mr. acosta: wow. ms. ryan: i embrace that. mr. acosta: you know, it does not bother me. actually, presidents have been going on late-night tv shows -- i think nixon was on "laugh in" -- this was way before your time. clinton on arsenio hall playing saxophone. that was a good one. ms. ryan: it was. mr. acosta: that i don't mind is much, but what concerns me, and it's something i think you guys should be concerned about, and i feeling this is a case in covering campaigns as well, and
maybe i'm getting old and too gray and grumpy, but i think this barrier that exists between the people we cover and the press is getting bigger and bigger, and it's getting easier and easier to corral us and move us off to the side. i don't know if you saw this just over the summer, hillary clinton's campaign used a rope to pull back the press, to make sure that they kept moving, as if we are cattle. no, we are human beings. come up with a different way other than using an actual rope to move us around. hillary clinton's campaign also has its own pool. there was a story in the "new york times," where someone who is in that pool, which is a small group of reporters who cover a president -- hillary clinton's campaign in its infancy had a pool, and there
was a story about one of the reporters had to be accompanied to the bathroom by somebody with the campaign. if there is something to end with, and i don't want to end on a gloomy note because you sort of asked a lighthearted question about presidents going to late-night talk shows -- is you guys have to fight this effort to put an ever-increasing barrier between us and the politicians we cover. i think that is one of the greatest dangers to our democracy. people talk about, "you guys are all liberals." "you are too conservative." "you are too corporate." we still need us. what separates us from most countries on earth is the strong, robust press corps. ms. parsons: i think i can put an even more positive spin on that is a great ending point, which is many of you will go on
to work in policy and in media. what we have explored today is the importance of an authentic dialogue, an authentic relationship between newsmakers and the people and the press. with the people here and talk about smart things the white house has done because they understood we were expressing the interests of our readers and listeners, it makes the white house smarter. it makes you smarter. it makes all of us smarter when we are engaging in conversation and having real interactions. if you were to ask each person what drives us, it's not because we are superstars.
the only person who i know who called me up to tell me "great job on c-span," it's my mom. hi, mom. [laughter] the people who cover the white house, the people on this panel get up and go do this every day. they could make more money doing something else but choose to do this because they really believe in the cause. asking questions, getting answers, getting people more informed. i thank you for having this great panel. i hope you will join me in thanking them. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, wiich is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] thank you for being here this morning. if you would like to dig a little deeper ms. ryan has a book. would you like to say a few words?
you'll be able to purchase a copy later for $17. she will stick around and sign those for those of you lucky enough to buy one. ofit is an up-close view presidents of race in america. clinton, barack obama, condoleezza rice. it goes on and on. when they thought for these kinds of people to go on the record about race. you do not hear people of this magnitude going on about certain issues. they returned to talk about issues of race and that is an issue right now. i would encourage you to pick it up and let me know what you think. . thank you. we will continue our conversation late lesson in a minute. we will allow our speakers to get up and leave the room.
we will continue the conversation in one moment. how about another round of applause? [applause] thank you. >> today on c-span, washington journal is next, live with your phone calls, tweets, and facebook comments. good education and terry arne duncan on improving standardized testing. in tributes to outgoing house speaker john boehner. and nancy pelosi talks about women in politics. and her 45 minutes children on the decision to send toe u.s. combat advisors help in the fight against isis. then a discussion of the recent -- linkinging process meats to cancer. we will talk to the center for science and public interest.
and i looked at moved by republicans to impeach irs commissioner amid accusations he misled the public and ♪ it saturday morning to you. it is october 31. the white house has announced it will deploy special operations forces to syria to aid in the battle there against the islamic state. it marks the first time troops will be on the ground full-time there. obama administration says it will not be engaged in direct combat, still, it is being called a major shift in strategy for president who vowed to not put boots on the ground. we want to know what you think. how involved should the u.s. be in syria? if you support that decision, .ou can dial (202) 748-8000