Smile for the cameras

SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS…. For quite a while now, the media has pushed for significantly more transparency in the health care reform debate. News outlets have repeatedly reminded Americans of then-candidate Obama’s call in 2008 to put “negotiations on C-SPAN.”

It’s interesting, then, to see one high-profile journalist — CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller — complain last night that today’s health care summit represents too much transparency.

[B]y putting six hours of highly political talks on television, on one of the most controversial of his policy initiatives, it all but insures there’ll be no breakthrough agreement on a health care bill.

If the televised proceedings of the House and Senate are a guide, the summit broadcast will provide six hours of political posturing about the proper role of government in regulating and mandating health care coverage.

In other words, Knoller seems to be calling for more behind-closed-door talks, where negotiations can continue honestly. What’s lost in transparency would be made up in candor.

I don’t disagree — I’ve long thought this push for televised talks is kind of silly — but hasn’t the media been pushing in the opposite direction for months?

It seems as if the White House gets slammed for private, productive talks (“secret” negotiations), and the White House gets slammed for open, transparent talks (“posturing” and “theatrics”).