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Biden Uses a List of Reporters and Notes During the White House Joint Press Conference with the Japanese Prime Minister

Joe Biden (Credits: India TV News)

President Biden’s recent use of notes and a list of reporters’ names during press events has garnered attention and sparked discussions about presidential communication strategies.

These instances, including a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and an earlier Oval Office meeting, highlight the president’s approach to managing information and engaging with the media.

During the joint press conference, Biden was observed looking down at the podium as he answered questions, indicating the use of notes, which were also visible from the reflection in his sunglasses. At one point, he mentioned having a “list” of reporters to call on next, showcasing a planned approach to handling questions from the media.

Joe Biden (Credits: Bryan Times)

This practice of using notes and lists is not unique to President Biden. Still, it has been employed by many presidents to stay organized and ensure fair representation of reporters during press events. However, it has drawn scrutiny from critics who question the extent of reliance on prepared materials and pre-approved lists.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed concerns about Biden’s use of notes during a previous meeting with other leaders. In response to a question from a reporter, Jean-Pierre defended the president’s use of note cards, emphasizing his successful track record and the common practice among presidents to utilize such aids during press conferences and meetings.

One vivid incident occurred in October when Biden was photographed holding a note card containing the names and images of reporters during a press conference. It was noted that all the listed reporters were called on during the event, raising questions about the selection process and the level of spontaneity in addressing questions from the media.

Joe Biden (Credits: NBC News)

White House deputy press Secretary Andrew Bates clarified that having a list of reporters is standard procedure for presidents and does not imply advance knowledge of questions. He cited a 2014 transcript from President Obama as an example of the typical practice of presidents using lists of reporters during press events.

The use of notes and lists serves several purposes for presidents. It helps them stay on message, remember key points, and ensure that a diverse range of reporters gets an opportunity to ask questions. However, critics argue that excessive reliance on prepared materials can detract from the spontaneity and authenticity of interactions with the media.

In the context of President Biden’s presidency, his use of notes and lists reflects a strategic approach to communication, balancing preparedness with the need for transparency and engagement with the press. As with previous administrations, this practice will likely continue as a fundamental aspect of presidential communication strategies.

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