NYT reporters 'didn’t get to' question about surveillance during Obama interview

The New York Times

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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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