Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Press Corps vs. Bush

You see the most amazing things when you're on vacation and watching TV at 9AM.

President Bush was giving a press conference, and the White House press corps was given a chance to ask questions. The first one out of the gate? Helen Thomas asks the President (and I paraphrase),

"Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has killed thousands of servicemen and Iraqi civilians, yet all of the reaons you gave publicly for the invasion have been shown to be untrue. What was your real reason for invading Iraq? You say it wasn't to control the oil, or for Israel, so what was your real reason?"

Wow. The press corps has complained that the White House of this administration is rather cool with them. When you ask questions of such "high caliber," do you have any wonder why?



Sergio said...

By the by... what was his response?

Aeryn said...

I'm confused as to what the purpose of those post is about. You are complaining because someone of the press corp decided to question the President on something? That's their job. And unless I'm mistaken the press conference that you are referring to was talking about the US keeping troops in Iraq until we accomplished our "goals" (otherwise we would pull them out of there right now!!) So I beleive it is perfectly reasonable for someone who's job it is to ask questions to ask what is the real reason we are there.

I was led to beleive that was also your view on things... Unless of course the "Criticism? Less Please" post you made back in February only applies to you and the Daily Northwestern.

sergio said...

On an unrelated note - I imagine you've already seen this - but in the event you missed it ...


Hal said...

Hey Aeryn, thanks for reading the blog.

The point of this post was to make an observation. The White House press corps has complained that this administration is hostile and evasive with them.

Helen Thomas was given a chance to ask President Bush a question, and she called him a liar. Why shouldn't she expect the administration to regard her coolly? How would you respond to people who treated you thusly?

And as for the "evasive" part, it's only natural. If they're starting with the assumption that the administration is lying to them, then they're never going to get a "straight answer."

That was all. Just an observation.

Aeryn said...

Just for edification the question (which was actually second to be picky) was
"Mr. President, at the beginning of your talk today you mentioned that you understand why Americans have had their confidence shaken by the events in Iraq. And I'd like to ask you about events that occurred three years ago that might also explain why confidence has been shaken. Before we went to war in Iraq we said there were three main reasons for going to war in Iraq: weapons of mass destruction, the claim that Iraq was sponsoring terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11, and that Iraq had purchased nuclear materials from Niger. All three of those turned out to be false. My question is, how do we restore confidence that Americans may have in their leaders and to be sure that the information they are getting now is correct?"

and the first thing the President said was "That's a great question." then when on to backtrack the party/white house line about not actually ever connecting Hussein with the attack on our country etc. etc.

Transcript here (for Sergio ) : http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060320-7.html

Hal said...

My apologies Aeryn, I was half-watching the TV, half-playing gameboy.

This is the question I was referring to, the one that caught my attention:

"I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet — your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth — what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil — quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?"

Sounds like she called him a liar to me.

Aeryn said...

Aaah, sorry, I just made some assumptions about date and time and found the one that was closest (I thought to your paraphrase)... guessimation in action ;)

Now I see the fundamental difference in viewpoints, it's hard for me to look at this from "she accused him of being a liar" side... because well the track record isn't great, so I'm already on the "he can't help himself and lie" side. (I mean if you can't even admit that you crashed your bike on a clear day..*shrugs* )

But I still stand by the fact that it is their job to ask the questions that people want to hear the answers to, and polls (yes yes, our president 'doesn't' listen to polls) say more and more people feel that he lied about Iraq no matter how much spin you put on the "we didn't exactly say this was a direct effect to this" approach. And at least this question didn't out right say "You lied now tell us the truth!", it asked for a defenitive positive statement not a litany of why we didn't (now) go to war.

Aeryn said...

and then from the Damned if you do, damned if you don't category:
What's with having news conferences at 900? Are we trying not to loose points with the American Idol audience? Or (to feed the conspiracy fodder) is it easier to have a news conference when everyone should be at work, so that the spin can happen by the time the news cycle starts. ;)

I'm just saying (and so are a lot of other people actually, just not as nicely ... awww ;) )