Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent, took some time after hosting “This Week” on Sunday to answer viewer questions from Facebook regarding his experience covering President Obama.
Rick Gibbs: Is there anything enjoyable about covering the president, Jonathan?
“Yeah, course. Look, it’s a tough job—you’re always on. It is a lot of work. It is constraining being in the White House…As a reporter covering the White House can be a little frustrating because you are not allowed to roam the halls. I can’t like go and knock on the door of the oval office. I’ve gotta stay in the press area and I’ve gotta count on senior officials to return my calls. In that sense it can be frustrating. But this is a great honor, a great privilege. I love the job. I…profoundly believe I am lucky to have the opportunities I have every day. So I find much, much more to say about it that is quite enjoyable.”
Marcela Marchesini Kapfer: Do you ever step back and get a little starstruck when you talk to the president, regardless of who it is? And do you ever get a little embarrassed or hesitant about asking certain questions?
“Well, I will say that I have had the privilege of meeting four different presidents. And no matter who they are, there is a sense of ‘Wow, I’m meeting the President.’ There’s that very flash—this is the president, talking to the President of the United States. But that quickly goes away when you have a reporter. And if you feel embarrassed or hesitant about asking questions, you should probably find a different line of work. I find that goes away quite quickly. ‘I’ve got a job to do. It’s my job to ask questions. Sometimes those are tough and hard questions.’ And I do that.”
Bill Bourquin: What’s it like for a reporter to deal with the Secret Service?
“I’ve got to say, the secret service, they’ve got a job to do. Their job is to protect the president. It is a profoundly important job. And I find them to be absolutely professional. We have to go through a lot of security sweeps…especially on a foreign trip. I was just traveling with the president to Israel, and to the West Bank, and to Jordan. The security is intense. You have to go through…everything on you has to get checked out before every event. But the Secret Service are absolutely professionals. They understand that we have a job to do as well and I find working with them to be just fine.”
Diana Galaviz Erikson: Is it hard to report something that you personally don’t agree with?
“Diana, I have to answer quite simply, ‘No.’ My personal beliefs are absolutely irrelevant to the work that I am doing. I need to put them aside when I’m reporting on a story. My job is to present the facts, to get to the bottom of what is going on, and to present that in a way that is not affected by my own personal views. Frankly as I’m doing my job, I’m not even thinking about what I personally believe on a given issue.”