By Dana Milbank,Washington Post
Obama shuns the media at his summit
World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.
They entered a capital that had become a military encampment,with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue,where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.
In the middle of it all was Obama —occupant of an office once informally known as "leader of the free world"—putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.
The only part of the summit,other than a post-meeting news conference,that was visible to the public was Obama’s eight-minute opening statement,which ended with the words:"I’m going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session."
Reporters for foreign outlets,many operating in repressive countries,got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Yasmeen Alamiri from the Saudi Press Agency got this lesson in press freedom when trying to cover Obama’s opening remarks as part of a limited press "pool":"The foreign reporters/cameramen were escorted out in under two minutes,just as the leaders were about to begin,and Obama was going to make remarks. . . . Sorry,it is what it is."