Thursday, March 13, 2003

The Silence Of The Lambs

The NY Observer has an interesting article up in which several journalists are critical of the stage-manged "press conference" that Bush held last week.
"People ask me, ‘Do you wish you were back at the White House?’" Mr. Donaldson said. "And I say, ‘No, not really.’" But, said Mr. Donaldson, inflating his supersized larynx up to indignant, mega-bass proportions, "there are moments like Thursday night when—yeah—I want to be there!" It wasn’t just Sam. Somewhere Mike Deaver, Ronald Reagan’s media-fixing P.R. king, was smiling. But reporters on-site were alternately flabbergasted, flailing and embarrassed by the experience. None seemed to have the legs to get into the game. Mr. Bush ran out the clock on his hour of prime time, using it with the focus of Jimmy Dean selling sausage, snubbing tough reporters while calling on buddies, issuing one-size-fits-all talking points to all comers, giving the answers he wanted to the questions he didn’t. He even openly taunted one correspondent, CNN’s John King, for daring to ask a multi-part question.
Considering that Bush worked off a list of Ari-approved journalists I wonder if we might see the beginnings of a shame campaign here. After all, if Dubya considers you worthy to call on that must mean he thinks you are compliant enough not to be to tough on him. In other words, being on Bush's chosen list should be a mark of dishonor for a journalist.
Mr. Bush worked from a podium-pasted pre-determined list of acceptable reporters to call upon. USA Today’s Larry McQuillan, on the White House beat since Jimmy Carter, said Mr. Bush’s homeroom-proctor sheet of preferred questioners managed to insult those didn’t appear on it—and make those who did seem like Karl Rove’s brown-nosers, the camp kids who got the best desserts. "The process in some ways demeaned the reporters who were called on as much as those who weren’t," Mr. McQuillan said.
"In some ways"? That's putting it mildly Mr. McQuillan.


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