The White House kept its press corps in the dark about first lady Michelle Obama's Oscar video appearance to present Argo the best picture Academy Award Sunday night--the latest sign in the fractured relationship between the president's team and the media that cover them.
When she appeared on TV to present the award, it was the first the press corps knew it was happening. The pool report issued at 12:31 a.m. Monday morning revealing the details of first lady's event ended with this sentence: "WH kept the event hush-hush in advance. Your pooler happened to be watching the Oscars."
The pool passed on a statement from the first lady's office that included details on the first lady's dress, a repeat performance of her Naeem Khan dress worn to the governor's dinner earlier Sunday night.
In fact the pooler, Roll Call's Steven T. Dennis, had to ask for the statement from the first lady's office after he watched her appearance on TV.
In the past, it as been typical that late breaking events short of war are explained to the press in advance in return for a promise that they hold on to the information until given the green light.
Below is the pool report:
Subject: WH print pool report #3 - FLOTUS Oscars
Wearing the Naeem Khan dress she wore to the governors' dinner, FLOTUS made an unannounced appearance to name the Best Picture winner - Argo - live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, sent this statement:
"The Academy Awards approached the First Lady about being a part of the ceremony. As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all - especially our young people - with their passion, skill and imagination."
@PeteSouza, the official White House photographer, tweeted out a pic.
WH kept the event hush-hush in advance. Your pooler happened to be watching the Oscars.
CQ Roll Call White House Reporter