The 2007 elections for WHCA president (for 2009-2010) and for three seats on the Executive Board of the White House Correspondents’ Association (one at-large seat, one seat representing magazines and one seat representing TV) are underway (ballots were due Friday).
Who will win?
Bloomberg’s Ed Chen is running for both the at-large seat and the presidency and writes in his candidate statement, “If elected, in me you’ll get five-for-the-price-of-one. That’s because Bloomberg News is a player in every medium: television, radio, magazine, the Internet as well as print.” Because of this, Chen calls his candidacy “The One-Man Rainbow Coalition.” Chen later writes: “[I]f elected, I intend to engage the entire membership in an open conversation about our signature event. Surely there are ways to make the annual dinner (no, the entire evening) even more enjoyable…and less polarizing?”
ABC’s Jon Garcia doesn’t say in his candidate statement what he’s running for but does say that he has “a passion for being a very loud, squeaky wheel when pushing for the WH to be more fiscally prudent on our behalf. It’s a passion so complete that, on behalf of my network and with the support of my TV colleagues, I have already drafted proposed revisions to our policies manual.”
Fox News cameraman Brian Haefeli is running for the Television seat and has an interesting way of capitalizing certain words. Like: “These issues affect ALL OF US EVERYDAY.” And: “I feel that my years of experience and being at the White House EVERYDAY uniquely qualifies me to fill the Television seat of the WHCA. I would like this opportunity to represent ALL OF YOU…I will work for ALL of the membership EVERYDAY.”
CNN’s Ed Henry is a candidate for the TV seat and says “I am a familiar face on the beat every day of the week, so you can count on me to hear and understand your concerns.” His three big issues are “1) I am pushing for an open meeting of all members of the association this summer to begin a dialogue on how to improve our annual dinner.” “2) Access, access, access.” “3) Finally, I will work hard to make sure all of the inevitable kinks are worked out in the new briefing room.”
The WSJ’s John McKinnon is running for the at-large board seat and for president and he wants “to be clear why: people I respect a lot in the press corps asked me to.” He is not “doing this to help promote my organization, the Wall Street Journal, or to festoon my resume.” But he is “doing it to help ALL of us in the White House press corps — TV, radio, print, and online — do our jobs better, so collectively we can get closer to the truth of what goes on over there.” He also says that “The new video wall in the briefing room also could be a source of headaches for TV folks, if the White House tries to use it to jam content down our throats.” He says that his “decent relations” with the Bush administration make him a good candidate for the job. He’ll also “try not to screw up.”
U.S. News & World Reports’ Ken Walsh is running for the magazine seat and believes that “the board should be more than a dinner committee.”
Perhaps the most interesting candidate statement comes from Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe, who is running for both the magazine seat and for president. His candidate statement is really Wolffe’s treastise on the state of the news media. He begins his candidate statement with, “Let’s face it: we’re under attack.” He continues: “[W]e, as the White House press corps, are on the receiving end of a concerted campaign by political partisans on both sides. We could just pretend like this storm is going to pass; but it’s not…Now is the time to stand up for who we are and what we do.” First thing on the agenda? “Well how about defending the annual dinner for a start…Some people say that we’re compromised by going to dinner with our sources. Really? Does anyone seriously think we should confine ourselves to the briefing room? Under those rules, military reporters should avoid lunch with the troops.” Later, Wolffe says, “Other people say we’re biased — either to the left, or to the rigth. I’ve worked overseas, where a partisan press is the norm. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. By any measure, I believe we do a better job by being dogged and combative, but also non-partisan, balanced and accurate.” Wolffe ends: “This is a new era and we need new faces on the board.”
Who’s got your vote?
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