Washington, DC. Stinging from the "gigs" handed to them by the President, the US press corps will voluntarily take action to improve its collective appearance. Spearheaded by the White House cadre, a large group of Washington reporters have been meeting in secret over the last few days to hammer out the features of their new look.
Acting as spokesperson for the group, Jade Jual of the American Association of Professional Reporters announced at a press conference today that "from now on reporters will have to get their act together. I mean, we really do look unprofessional on TV, and it shouldn't be up to the President to point out our fashion faults, now should it?"
The move came on the heels of the President's reference to Peter Wallstein's eye wear embarrassment. "The other reporters were deeply humiliated," said Jual. "After all, it's up to us to police ourselves to make sure we don't sully our image in front of the world. We can do better. You'll see. We'll do better"
She had nothing but a "No comment" when repeatedly asked to take into account Wallstein's serious eye condition. "We reporters have to make a better presentation, scarves shouldn't be allowed," she said, apparently referring to a subsequent occasion when the President jokingly commented about David Gregory's pocket wear. "David had on a lovely matching tie and handkerchief ensemble, but it WAS too loud and distracting. We must not interfere with the smooth flow of the speech, and the dictation, I mean, note taking, must be orderly."
Jual has the backing of the organization, she offered, and hinted that dress codes may be imposed, possibly with prior-to-admittance inspections. Jual became visibly irritated at questions about whether there would be uniforms and, in that event, adherence to the gig line. "We're not the military! No one will have to stand at attention for inspection, and I certainly will not be the one to ensure the gig line is maintained," she said. However, follow-up queries, when allowed, were batted back with "That is to be determined."
Many reporters were discouraged and disheartened. Typical was a comment by Ryan Richie of the Washington Post. "It's ridiculous to require us to dress in a certain way. I'm no baby and I'll dress myself any way I want!"
Others were concerned about the structure of the committee deciding the rules. Roone Bayed of the Beach Times seemed to express the prevailing sentiments. "This is America. No 'group' is going to dictate dress style to a free press. Who do they think they are? If I want to wear a suit I'll work for IBM, now won't I? The AAPR can just shove it!"
Still others focused on compliance, before any punishment is meted out. "Why couldn't they go ahead and give us the rules now, for pity's sake. Just post the rules so I can get a wardrobe lined up. As long as it's not Armani suits, I'm good," said Heather Locher, who refrained from giving her affiliation. She was disconcerted that AAPR would simply "spring it on us, no warning, like I got to shop on short notice now."
One reporter, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that he will circumvent the rules. "I'm a rebel at heart. I haven't been told what to wear since I was in private school, and I'm not going to start now. Man, this really bites. Why should I give up my lifestyle just because one guy wore a scarf and shades?"
His plan, he said, was to send in his look-alike brother. "He likes to dress up and show off. You should see him when he gets going. Really over the top. Besides, they'll never know it's not me!"