But President Obama found a novel way to get around this age-old comms challenge at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday by employing an ‘anger translator’ to let journalists know what he really thought about some of the issues, but had been unable to say all this time.
The semi tongue-in-cheek tirade, translated by Comedy Central character Luther – played by Keegan-Michael Key – began by ribbing broadcasters Fox News and CNN about "terrifying old white people with nonsense" and "wall-to-wall Ebola coverage".
Eventually though, Obama dispenses with the need for his translator as he warms to a tirade against climate-change sceptics on Capitol Hill.
He said: "Look at what's happening right now. Every serious scientist says we need to act. The Pentagon says it's a national security risk. Miami floods on a sunny day, and instead of doing anything about it, we've got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate! It is crazy! What about our kids?! What kind of stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible…"
Luther, appearing more shocked by the moment as Obama's voice rises in tempo, finally intervenes to tell the president he needs counselling rather than an anger translator.