Observers couldn’t help but notice the irony: President Barack Obama on Monday signed the Press Freedom Act, then refused to take any questions from members of the press.
In a broader sense, the event was another demonstration of Obama’s standoffish relationship with the news media — despite his campaign vow of a “transparent” administration.
Obama has not fielded questions at a full-blown press conference since way back on July 22, 2009.
President George H.W. Bush had nearly three press conferences a month. Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson convened an average of about two a month, Ronald Reagan had less than one press conference every two months, and Richard Nixon averaged one every seven weeks.
Obama lags behind both Nixon and Reagan: He called five press conferences during his first six months in office, and none in the 10 months that followed, the Huffington Post reported.
As for less formal short exchanges with reporters, Obama has had 47, compared with 147 for George W. Bush in his first year and 252 for Clinton, according to figures compiled by professor Martha Joynt Kumar of Towson University in Towson, Md.
Reporters were on hand in the Oval Office when Obama signed the Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act, which expands the State Department’s annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country.
Read More: By Newsmax