White House Press Secretary Dana Perino went on CNN Sunday to dispute recent reports that the White House has snubbed the New York Times. She argues that just because President Bush doesn't want to do a sit-down interview with the paper doesn't mean they don't get their questions answered:
KURTZ: But you are not shy about making clear when you think the coverage is unfair, and in fact, "New York Times" has not had an interview with the president in at least two or three years and correspondent Sheryl Stolberg said in an online chat on the "Times" Web site that White House officials are quite open about the fact that they have not done an interview because they don't like our coverage.
PERINO: Well, I think that I'll refrain from speaking about her individually but we have had some difficulties with the "New York Times"
and other candidates have had difficulties with that paper or other papers and you make decisions based on what you think will be the best possible way to get your message out.
KURTZ: Another way of putting that is "The Times" is being punished. You don't like the coverage, they don't have access to the president.
PERINO: I would disagree that they don't get the coverage they deserve.
Just because - there is a never a time when I don't respond to "The New York Times" ...
KURTZ: I'm not saying you don't answer their questions. I'm talking about having a sit down interview with the president of the United States.
PERINO: They get their questions asked - the president always calls on "The New York Times" at a news conference. But just because he doesn't want to spend an hour alone with Cheryl or her colleagues in the Oval Office I think doesn't mean that they're not getting the coverage that they deserve.