Problem is that if reporters were looking "at events with a skeptical eye," then no one would have a problem with the WHCA dinners. As Washington DC reporters are instead extremely close to their sources and as skeptical questioning is very rare among them, the dinners strengthen an already-far-too-close relationship between reporters and their sources.
Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts write in The Washington Post that "singer Sheryl Crow and 'Inconvenient Truth' producer Laurie David walked over to Table 92 at the Hilton Washington to chat with Karl Rove -- and the resulting exchange was suitably heated."
"'I am floored by what I just experienced with Karl Rove," David reports. 'I went over to him and said, 'I urge you to take a new look at global warming.' He went zero to 100 with me. . . . I've never had anyone be so rude."
Rove's version: "She came over to insult me and she succeeded."
Things got so hot that Crow stepped in to defuse the situation and then got into it with Rove herself. "You work for me," she told the presidential adviser, according to singed bystanders. "No," was his response. "I work for the American people."
First off, Ms Crow IS a thoroughly respectable stand-in/representative for a very large slice of the "American people" on the issue of Global Warming and second of all, it's not like critics frequently get the chance to speak with any representatives of the Bush Administration. That notoriously secretive and reclusive bunch likes to appear with friendly audiences only. They have made it absolutely crystal clear that they don't like being challenged in any way, shape or form.
It's not that I believe Sheryl Crow's version of events just because she's a babe (Which, of course, she is) or that I disbelieve Karl Rove's version because he strikes me as a troll-under-the-bridge type (Which, of course, he does), but because the Guardian reported on 28 January 2001 that:
The scorched earth approach taken by departing Democrat officials as they left office last weekend has been seen as funny or pathetic, according to political opinions. George Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer has been listing examples of pranks and minor vandalism, although he yesterday backed off a statement that an official "cataloguing" was in process.
While Republican sources spoke of a systematic trashing of offices, President Bush said he was not himself concerned about "a prank or two".
Bush's chief of staff Andrew Card's office said that a photocopier cord and phone line had been cut, along with other "isolated incidents", which reportedly included pornographic pictures left in photocopiers.
Problem was that no vandalism occurred. Later investigations showed it to be utterly without foundation. At most, a few "W" keys disappeared from a few computer keyboards. The story given to the public was pretty much pure propaganda. But it did it's job. Clinton was made to look bad and Bush was made to look good. So, has the Bush Administration changed its stripes? I somehow doubt it.
Firedoglake (Comment #52) discussed the story and the commenter concluded that Rove got rude to Crow because he could tell that she wasn't going to take any guff from him. She clearly wasn't going to put on a Laura Bush act and pretend she was a wide-eyed innocent.
Bonus: TRex has a hilarious take on how:
...one dimunitive pop star has more stones than the entire White House Press Corps combined (except for possibly Helen Thomas, who will always and forever be Empress of White House Reporters).