Perino Has Parting Words for Press

Would like to see more reporting, less commentary

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino shared a few thoughts on the state of journalism in her final briefing from the podium. 

“There’s no doubt that your industry is going through a change and a transition and a transformation,” Perino told reporters. “I really do think for the sake of democracy and the sake of our country, we need to have more of you and that good, tough reporting takes a lot of money.” 

“It takes investment, it takes time, and it takes a willingness from your editors to be willing to have you go off on assignment and to really hold your elected leaders to account,” she added. “I don’t think that journalism is dead, but I think that we all have a responsibility to make sure that it survives.” 

The outgoing spokeswoman also said she believes there is a general liberal bias in the media, but that she has rarely seen it in dealing with White House reporters. 

“Here’s the thing. I don't think I would always be asked about my feelings about liberal bias in the media if there wasn’t any liberal bias in the media,” Perino said. “If it was a moot question, then we wouldn’t always have the discussion.” 

As part of her criticism, Perino bemoaned the increase in commentary and analysis in journalism over straight reporting. 

“I do think that outside of the White House briefing room and I think that -- well, I think the increase in the amount of commentary, you know, I just think it’s quite remarkable that everyone says they want to add more commentary to their news pages,” she said. “In some ways I think, well, how is that even possible? It seems sometimes that that’s all that there is.” 

Perino also had a parting shot for former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, whose tell-all book left many White House staffers feeling betrayed. Asked if she watched McClellan’s remarks on MSNBC Thursday night following the president’s farewell address, Perino responded: “I didn’t bother watching them.”

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