New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan asks Times D.C. bureau chief David Leonhardt why the paper didn’t ask President Obama about government surveillance during its recent exclusive interview, something I wondered about Monday.
Reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear “had a surveillance question on their list but they didn’t get to it,” Leonhardt told Sullivan.
Mr. Leonhardt said that he doubted he could have pressed successfully for an interview with a national security focus.
“He is not willing to grant a 40-minute interview on drones right now,” he said.
But, I asked, if the interview could veer into topics as far-flung as health care and the March on Washington, why couldn’t it at least take a stab at the hottest topic of the moment?
“That’s in the realm of legitimate critique and debate,” Mr. Leonhardt said, while noting that Ms. Calmes had asked a surveillance-related question at a recent presidential news conference.
Leonhardt told Sullivan, as he told The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone Monday, that the White House placed no restrictions on the interview.
Correction: This post originally misspelled Calderone’s last name.