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The White House & the Press

Episode Summary

The relationship between the President and the reporters assigned to cover the White House has always been fraught. Has this relationship gotten better or worse in recent years? Our guest, veteran WH correspondent Steve Thomma, shares his take and the implications for American democracy. And, to end, Lee's Fun Fact offers some good food for thought.

Episode Notes

We devote the episode to our conversation with Steve Thomma, who's been involved in covering the White House as a reporter since Ronald Reagan's second term and now serves as Executive Director of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Steve talks about how the relationship between the White House and the journalists assigned to cover it has seemed to worsen almost continually since the 80s. He notes the criticism of both the Trump and Biden teams and how more access to the President hasn't always meant better information.

We also talked about how reporters deal with Presidential untruths -- "lies" is a word only recently used by major American media -- and how the press has evolved to report on them. And, what about candidates and politicians refusing to talk to, or even allow into news conferences, reporters they don't like? Steve has some thoughts about that.

Then, to wrap up, we invite Steve -- a Chicagoan -- to explain how his hometown could fall so far behind NYC in a critical poll from 1955. He also explains, in minute detail, what makes a Chicago hot dog so superior to all others.