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Obama Tells Washington Press Corps ‘We’ve Always Shared the Same Goal...’

By CNSNews.com Staff | May 1, 2016 | 10:54am EDT
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Speaking at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., last night President Barack Obama told the Washington press corps that he and they have “always shared the same goal to root our public discourse in the truth” and that he has “always appreciated the role that you have all played as equal partners in reaching these goals.”

Obama will leave office next January, and this was the last White House Correspondents Dinner he will attend while in office.

“I know that there are times that we’ve had differences and that’s inherent in our institutional roles,” said Obama. “It is true of every president and his press corps. But we’ve always shared the same goal to root our public discourse in the truth, to open the doors of this democracy, to do whatever we can to make our country and our world more free and more just. And I’ve always appreciated the role that you have all played as equal partners in reaching these goals.”

Here is an excerpt from Obama’s speech:

But I know you have jobs to do which is what really brings us here tonight.

I know that there are times that we’ve had differences and that’s inherent in our institutional roles. It is true of every president and his press corps. But we’ve always shared the same goal to root our public discourse in the truth, to open the doors of this democracy, to do whatever we can to make our country and our world more free and more just. And I’ve always appreciated the role that you have all played as equal partners in reaching these goals. ….

At home and abroad, journalists like all of you engage in the dogged pursuit of informing citizens and holding leaders accountable, and making our government of the people possible, and it’s an enormous responsibility. And I realize it’s an enormous challenge at a time when the economics of the business sometimes incentivize speed over depth and when controversy and conflict are what most immediately attract readers and viewers. The good news is there are so many of you that are pushing against those trends and, as a citizen of this great democracy, I am grateful for that.

For this is also a time around the world when some of the fundamental ideals of liberal democracies are under attack and when notions of objectivity and of a free press and of facts and of evidence are trying to be undermined or in some cases ignored entirely. In such a climate it’s not enough just to give people a megaphone. That’s why your power and your responsibility to dig and to question and to counter distortions and untruths is more important than even ever.

Taking a stand on behalf of what is true does not require you shedding your objectivity. In fact, it is the essence of good journalism. It affirms the idea that the only way we can build consensus, the only way that we can move forward as a country, the only way we can help the world mend itself is by agreeing on a baseline of facts when it comes to the challenges that confront us all. So this night is a testament to all of you who have devoted your lives to that idea, who push to shine a light on the truth every single day. So, I want to close my final White House Correspondents Dinner by just saying thank you. I’m very proud of what you’ve done. It has been an honor and a privilege to work side by side with you to strengthen our democracy. With that I just have two more words to say: Obama out.

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