There is a reason Matt Lee is one of my favorite reporters. Lee works for the Associated Press on the State Dept. beat. Not only does he play it straight down the middle, but Matt Lee asks the tough question and/or makes the points that no other reporter would dare to ask.
Take yesterday’s State Department press conference. According to the Obama administration, the President finds the idea of nuclear North Korea unacceptable. But earlier that same day North Korea tested a nuclear weapon so Lee posed this very logical question to the State Department’s spokesman John Kirby, how can the adminstration say a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable…they already have the bomb.
“Every time this happens, we hear from people in this administration, and other governments as well, that we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state. And yet it is. You also say this about other things too. You say you will never accept Crimea as a part of Russia. And yet it is. Isn’t it time to recognize these things for what they are and not live in this illusion or fantasy where you pretend that things are, are not?”
Kirby responded,” The short answer is no.”
“It’s preferable to live in a fantasy world?” Lee countered.
Allow me to interject for a moment. No other reporter confronts the State Dept. spox like Lee. And its not for the sake of confrontation, as you can see he is asking a totally logical question, one that could elicit an answer his readers would find interesting.
But in this case what was interesting was that Kirby seemed at a loss for an answer that would spin the administration’s position into something even minimally intelligent sounding. So he tap danced:
“At this level of foreign policy, you know, you… you have to make choices. And uh, you don’t have to accept everything, even at face value.”
“You have to accept reality,” Lee interjected.
“No.” said Kirby, “We’re not going to accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state. We’re not going to recognize that. We are, however, going to deal with -”
“- the fact that they are a nuclear-armed state,” said Lee
“- their efforts at developing that program.” Kirby continued.
Now Mr. Lee pointed out the absurdity of Kirby’s answer’s, “OK. I think you would understand my confusion. I notice though — I think it’s illogical to say that you’re not going to recognize them as a nuclear…”
Watch the full exchange in the video below.
BTW I do have to point out that Matt Lee has one major fault. It has nothing to do with his reporting but if you decide to follow him on twitter @APDiploWriter (something I strongly recommend) you may find that he has this strange obsession for the Buffalo Bills football team. However, his incredible reporting outweighs his horrible taste in football teams.