The notoriously drab White House press room may soon be getting a face lift. Renovation plans reportedly include a temporary relocation of facilities across the street. And that's raised the suspicions of some reporters, who see it as another attempt to reduce their already skimpy access to the President. From what we've seen on ABC, however, we're sure everybody will be grateful when they see the results.
BOB GARFIELD: This week, we learned that the White House press corps may finally get their old digs renovated. Reporters have complained about the drab and airless pressroom, built over a defunct swimming pool, for years. And at least on this subject, the president agrees with the media.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Whoever thought about modernizing this room deserves a lot of credit. [LAUGHTER] Like there's very little oxygen in here any more. [LAUGHTER]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: The plan for the renovation includes a suggested temporary relocation of the press corps to offices outside the White House. This doesn't sit well with some who believe this is just another way to cut their already diminishing access to the president. Still, most agree that modernization is desperately overdue. For instance, the briefing room doesn't even have a high-speed internet connection.
BOB GARFIELD: For an overhaul this daunting, maybe Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff who reportedly had this idea, should consider bringing in the team of ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Or - White House Edition. [INTRO EFFECTS]
ANNOUNCER: Next week on Extreme Makeover Home Edition- [MUSIC UP AND UNDER]
ANNOUNCER: [SHOUTING] Let's get this party started! [PEOPLE CHEERING, PARTYING]
MAN: It is a complicated project. It's going to be a really big project-
ANNOUNCER: [SHOUTING] There goes the pool!
MAN: It was already drained, and it was basically a waste of space. [SOUND OF SOMEONE DIVING INTO WATER]
WOMAN: It's just great, you know, cause we only have one computer before, and, and we all had to share-
MAN: I can go on the internet now, and I don't have to wait…
MAN: I was, like, amazed by what you guys did for us, and words can't describe how thankful I am… [SPECIAL EFFECTS]
ANNOUNCER: To find out more about the products used, go to ABC.com - key word, Home Makeover. [THEME MUSIC UP & UNDER]
BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Megan Ryan, Tony Field, Jamie York and Mike Vuolo, and edited-- by Brooke. Dylan Keefe is our technical director and Jennifer Munson our engineer. We had help from Susanna Dilliplane and Nick Gilewicz. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Katya Rogers is our senior producer and Dean Cappello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. You can listen to the program and find free transcripts, MP3 downloads and our podcast at onthemedia.org, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is On the Media, from WNYC. I'm Brooke Gladstone.