September 7th, 2014
12:40 PM ET

Two former press secretaries on Obama's response to ISIS crisis

Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush's first press secretary, and Bill Burton, who was a deputy press secretary for President Obama until 2011, join Brian Stelter to discuss President Obama's handling of the threat posed by ISIS.

"The press has a tendency to push the White House and the President to act faster than they might, and you see it in the questions that get asked in the briefing room, you see it in the conversations that happen on the talk shows," Burton said. "But one of the defining characteristics of this president is that he is not - he does not let his policies get dictated by those sorts of things."

Fleischer and Burton seemed to be on the same page about the media's saturation coverage of certain stories.

"The press is always interested in the next biggest story, and they do try to push in the direction of controversy and bigger news for them to cover. There is a bit of self-interest in what the press asks," Fleischer said.

"I do think that in the modern media - and this has been the case for maybe a decade - news spikes up with so much drama, so much more than it used to," Fleischer continued. "And then it comes right back down again and the press goes on to the next spike. It's as if everything has to be a driver of the news, and everything has to be a lead story, as opposed [to] there are multiple stories going on at one time and they can go up and down in relevance, but they all remain important."

"The press just hypes whatever is hottest," he added.

Burton said Fleischer made an important point. Earlier this summer, it was immigration. Now, it's ISIS. There's an "ebb and flow of big issues all the time," he said.

"They seem like they're the biggest issues on Earth and then they just go away," Burton said - in the media, that is, not in real life.

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    September 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply

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