Rachel Maddow discussed what she called the "big distance" between the kind of questions asked of the president by the Beltway media and average citizens on her Tuesday night MSNBC show.
Maddow replayed footage of Vice President Joe Biden responding to questions from citizens earlier this week. Biden sat down with Parents magazine and answered questions that readers posted to the publication's Facebook page. Though articles in Parent magazine do not usually deal with political issues, readers used the opportunity to ask the sitting vice president questions about guns in homes, armed security guards, and drug control.
Maddow pointed out how citizens also asked President Obama questions about mortgages, Internet freedom, and technology patents when the president answered questions during Reddit and Twitter forums. She then contrasted the kinds of questions average voters asked to the White House press corps expressing frustration this week that they were not given access to covering the president's golf game with Tiger Woods.
"As the Beltway media pines for more access ... we are getting more and more of something else ... multiple, repeated forums where citizens get to ask direct questions of the president or vice president in a setting where you can actually expect an answer," Maddow said. "It's not journalism. It's not a substitute for journalism, but there's something important I think to be found in the distance between the types of questions that are being asked by regular folks when they get a chance, and the type of questions being asked by the White House press corps when they get their chance."
Maddow added that what she called the "big distance" between the questions "often seem like they are from two totally different universes."
In response to frustration expressed by the White House press corps, Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the amount of access the White House gives to reporters, and noted that the president has given "591 interviews since he took office."