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Old 07-02-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
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Pampered Bush meets a real reporter

Snippet is from here:

On the eve of his recent sojourn in Europe, President Bush had an unpleasant run-in with a species of creature he had not previously encountered often: a journalist.

He did not react well to the experience.

Bush's minders usually leave him in the gentle care of the White House press corps, which can be counted on to ask him tough questions about when his summer vacation starts.

Apparently under the mistaken assumption that reporters in the rest of the world are as ill-informed and pliable as the stenographers who "cover" the White House, Bush's aides scheduled a sit-down interview with Carole Coleman, Washington correspondent for RTE, the Irish public television network.

Coleman is a mainstream European journalist who has conducted interviews with top officials from a number of countries - her January interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell was apparently solid enough to merit posting on the State Department's Web site.

Unfortunately, it appears that Coleman failed to receive the memo informing reporters that they are supposed to treat this president with kid gloves. Instead, she confronted him as any serious journalist would a world leader.

She asked tough questions about the mounting death toll in Iraq, the failure of U.S. planning, and European opposition to the invasion and occupation. And when the president offered the sort of empty and listless "answers" that satisfy the White House press corps - at one point, he mumbled, "My job is to do my job" - she tried to get him focused by asking precise follow-up questions.

The president complained five times during the course of the interview about the pointed nature of Coleman's questions and follow-ups - "Please, please, please, for a minute, OK?" the hapless Bush pleaded at one point, as he demanded his questioner go easy on him.

After the interview was done, a Bush aide told the Irish Independent newspaper that the White House was concerned that Coleman had "overstepped the bounds of politeness."

As punishment, the White House canceled an exclusive interview that had been arranged for RTE with first lady Laura Bush.
If you want to watch the interview, you can find it here in Real Player format.

He really does seem unhinged at moments there, like he couldn't believe she wasn't buying his story. It's such a difference, as the article points out between how Canadian and European reporters interview their leaders as compared to the American ones.

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Old 07-02-2004, 07:31 PM   #2
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Welcome to the real world, Mr. Bush. Why don't you sit down and stay a while?

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Old 07-02-2004, 08:07 PM   #3
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About time the mental midget faced some real questions. Of course, Dubya can only answer in half-sentences and go " uh."
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Old 07-02-2004, 08:07 PM   #4
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Gotta love the so-called "liberal media" in America. Frankly, America has forgotten what "liberal" means; they should be forced to stop using the term in favor of "less conservative." Sort of reminds me of Orwellian newspeak...

So why are American journalists so "nice" to Bush? They joked about it in the CBS TV show, "Murphy Brown," back during the Bush I Administration, as Murphy, who was unabashedly liberal, would get kicked out of the White House and never get an interview again. And that's what it really boils down to: you don't want to be the network that doesn't have first-person access to the White House. It is actually detrimental to be hard-nosed in today's business, and that's too bad. Perhaps in the interest of the public, the White House shouldn't be allowed to kick out members of the press for asking questions they don't like, without due process.

Nice to see that Europe has no need to be nice.

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Old 07-02-2004, 08:33 PM   #5
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is there an online transcript for Internet users of the dial-up variety?
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:13 AM   #6
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He didn't stumble as much as I expected. He was frustrated by an agressive journalist.

Oh his "famine and disease" portion was ridiculous he never talked about how he couldn't get his own party to vote for the funding.
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Old 07-03-2004, 02:54 AM   #7
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I read the transcript (I can't find the link though, zoney, sorry). It's clear Bush can't think on his feet very well. Every single question he launched into one of his canned speeches. He'd start trailing off, and of course the interviewer would interrupt trying to bring it back on course, and then Bush would get snippy.

To be fair though, many of the interviewer's questions were loaded and not very fairly worded, but still, if Bush were comfortable speaking off the cuff, rather than reciting prepared blurbs, that should not have been a problem for him.
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Old 07-03-2004, 07:54 AM   #8
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the really scary part is that in her own mind she probably was relatively easy on him, because she + her bosses would have been well aware that the white house won't exactly be co-operative if she would really be extremely critical
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Old 07-03-2004, 11:40 AM   #9
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my personal favorite moment was how he told her that because he believes in God it doesn't make him better than her. Was he implying that she doesn't?
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:51 PM   #10
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It's interesting how liberals think that the media is too conservative and soft on Bush, while conservatives think that the media is too liberal and slanted against Bush.

At the same time, many liberals seem to think of Bush as an incompetent dolt, while many conservatives view Bush as a brilliant leader.

In regards to all of these theories, I'm guessing that the truth actually lies somewhere in between.

IMO, painting anyone as a simplistic cartoon (some liberals are doing it to Bush, some conservatives did it to Clinton) is just a little bit too easy.
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Old 07-03-2004, 03:23 PM   #11
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All I'm going to say is that the leader of our nation should be able to speak well without preparation, and should be able to field criticism, whether valid or biased, and especially when in the form of an interview, in an eloquent and intelligent fashion, without resorting to the canned soundbytes we've heard numerous times.

Reagan was brilliant in this regard, Clinton was fairly good, Bush is just plain lousy. Notice how I'm not bringing their politics into play, just their ability to speak well on their feet.

Most European politicians, especially in Britain, have to deal with these kinds of interviews on a daily basis - indeed their interviewers are often a lot more critical and probing, and the politicians typically handle it quite well. The US media has really slacked off in this regard. Hell, most of it is questions turned in prior to the interview that the White House approves and prepares an answer for. There's nothing wrong with being critical and probing. Frankly I'm getting sick of the attitude that to be critical of the president is to somehow be unpatriotic. Skepticism is necessary for compelling journalism.

I leave you with a quote:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

--Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 07-03-2004, 08:24 PM   #12
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Can't wait for the debates...
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Old 07-04-2004, 04:01 PM   #13
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The transcript is on the WH website.
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Old 07-04-2004, 09:55 PM   #14
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I love that quote you posted, Diemen. My boss has it taped to her office door at work (supercool boss!).

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Old 07-04-2004, 10:19 PM   #15
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Big Grin

Go Reporter Coleman!

I heard some of it earlier in the week.
Air America Played a snippet of on part their exchange. AirAm is on the case, again!

Air America Bush

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