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Final News Literacy forum focuses on former White House press secretaries

Former White House press secretaries Michael McCurry and Dana Perino discussed journalism, politics and their professions in “Briefing the Press: A Democratic and Republican White House Press Secretary Compare Notes” Nov. 4.

Former White House press secretaries (left) Michael McCurry and Dana Perino (right) answered moderator Candy Crowley (center) questions about the general election and their previous job. Photo by Billy Bird.

Candy Crowley, political correspondent for CNN, moderated the discussion.

The panelists began by discussing the Nov. 2 elections, and explained how, from personal experience, administrations deal with unfavorable midterm results.  They discussed the role of a White House press secretary in effectively communicating between the president and the press.

“What you don’t see is that the press secretary spends a lot of time defending the press to the president,” Perino said.

Both McCurry and Perino agreed on the importance of being honest to the media.

“The facts count a lot more than the spin,” McCurry said.  “They want the unvarnished truth.  If you go out and try to get Barack Obama or any other politician to be someone they’re not it’s going to seem phony.”

After the discussion, the panelists answered questions from the audience.

The presentation was the last of a series of three seminars the News Literacy Project conducted. The project, a program that educates students about journalism and the media, and is now in its third year at Whitman.

“Our goal is to help young people become better students today and better informed citizens tomorrow,” NLP founder Alan Miller said.

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