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April 27, 2006
The VandeHei Tantrum

Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei pitched a fit at the prospect of exposure to Fox News on an Air Force One flight earlier today, CNN reports. The latest example of maturity in the White House press corps came as George Bush flew to Louisiana to highlight the rebuilding effort:

During a briefing led by White House spokesman Scott McClellan as President Bush was traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei asked why the White House televisions always seemed to be tuned to Fox News and if it was possible to have them tuned instead to CNN.

"It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied," VandeHei told McClellan, who is soon to be replaced by former Fox anchor and self-described conservative Tony Snow.

"My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?" VandeHei asked.

"Never heard of any such thing," McClellan responded. "My TVs are on four different channels at all times."

Earlier reports of this exchange did not identify the reporter whose delicate sensibilities found such easy offense at Brit Hume. Not only did VandeHei raise this "serious" question, but he continued to complain about having to endure Fox over CNN. Finally Scott McClellan put an end to this national crisis by changing the channel on the television.

It's interesting to see what matters mainstream media reporters consider as "serious". Next time his family loses the remote at home, we hope to see front-page coverage at the Post.

Addendum: If the White House would like to invite this blogger onto Air Force One to cover the president's schedule, I'll be satisfied with Fox or CNN. I'd prefer HBO and The Sopranos to either one, though.

UPDATE: VandeHei filed this report on Bush's trip to New Orleans. Bush appeared at a Habitat for Humanity construction project, visited a tent city to bolster the spirits of people clearing debris and also building houses, and put out a call for more volunteers to help restore the city. VandeHei, on the other hand, whined about the television programming in the cushy environs of Air Force One.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 27, 2006 11:33 PM

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