Following his ribbing of the White House press corps
Saturday night (April 30) at the annual correspondents dinner, President Barack
Obama gave a serious shout-out to them, which they wound up earning almost
immediately as the administration dropped the bombshell the next day.
"[I]n the last months, we've seen journalists
threatened, arrested, beaten, attacked, and in some cases even killed simply
for doing their best to bring us the story, to give people a voice, and to hold
leaders accountable," he said. Traditionally the President closes his
remarks with a nod to the value of journalism.
"[T]hrough it all, we've seen daring men and women risk
their lives for the simple idea that no one should be silenced, and everyone
deserves to know the truth. That's what you do. At your best that's what
journalism is. That's the principle that you uphold. It is always important,
but it's especially important in times of challenge, like the moment that America
and the world is facing now."
That "moment" took on new importance with the news
a day later that the White House had ordered the raid that killed Osama bin
Laden, with the White House responsible for scrambling that press corps late
Sunday night and into Monday morning to report on the news, including a press
conference with senior White House officials.
"So, I thank you for your service and the contributions
that you make," the president said. "And I want to close by
recognizing not only your service, but also to remember those that have been
lost as a consequence of the extraordinary reporting that they've done over
recent weeks. They help, too, to defend our freedoms and allow democracy to
According to the committee To Protect Journalists, 16
journalists have been killed since the start of this year, and a
sobering 861 since 1992, with another 145 currently imprisoned in the line of
CBS' Lara Logan, who went on-air Sunday night (May 1) to
report on bin Laden's death, was a reminder of that risk to journalists. It was
Logan's first live report since she
was brutally attacked while covering the Egyptian protests.