Saturday, December 05, 2009


(UPDATE, SUNDAY: I'm not sure I still believe what I wrote here, after repeated viewings of the clip, but I'll leave it up.)

Is this becoming a scandal? Really? Oh, give me a break, Jake (Tapper):

Gibbs Tells a Female White House Correspondent to 'Calm Down'

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and American Urban Radio’s White House Correspondent April Ryan have long had a contentious relationship. An exchange they had yesterday has started to garner some attention....

Ryan had a heated back-and-forth with Gibbs over whether White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers overstepped her bounds in the “Gate-Crash-gate” incident and was pressing Gibbs on the subject through repeated questions.

“Some might have called her the belle of the ball, overshadowing the first lady,” Ryan said.

Gibbs said he hadn’t heard that criticism before.

Ryan continued in her questioning, asking whether Rogers had invited herself to the first state dinner.

Gibbs shrugged it off, then told Ryan to calm down and take a deep breath....

Some are alleging sexism because Gibbs told a female reporter to calm down....

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is shocked, shocked:

How badly did Robert Gibbs handle this? Even the White House press corps audibly gasps when he tells April Ryan, a reporter from American Urban Radio to "calm down" and then compares her to his young son in terms of temperament.

Ed's already running a poll:

Funny -- I don't recall Ed running a similar poll back on November 8, 2005, in the Bush years:

There were many heated exchanges at yesterday's compellingly readable press briefing .

Press secretary Scott McClellan was questioned repeatedly and persistently about what sort of exemption the White House is requesting from a proposed congressional ban on torture.

He wouldn't say. And when the journalists in the room wouldn't back off, he lost his cool.

When Hearst columnist Helen Thomas kept interrupting McClellan's talking points and demanding a "straight answer" about the exemption, McClellan shot back: "You don't want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen, and I'm going to tell them the facts."

...Later, when American Urban Radio reporter April Ryan took up the question again, McClellan accused her of "showboating for the cameras" and told her she needed to "calm down."...

(Press conference transcript here.)

What I see in the Ryan-Gibbs exchange is a battle of two people who regard each other as peers; one is badgering the other and the other isn't condescending but, rather, searching for a non-heated way to end the badgering and move the hell on. Watch -- and draw your own conclusions.

(Oh, for what it's worth, Tony Snow also said to a male reporter, "Ed, calm down. I know you're excited, your voice is rising, your pace is increasing" on February 13, 2007. Again, no record of a shocked reaction from Ed Morrissey.)

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