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April 14, 2004

What y'all expect reporters to do?
The full text of the speech

Generally, the right, but many others as well, think the reporters at yesterday's - you know press - conference were mean and partisan for repeating the same question a number of times.

Anyone who thinks that is damaging journalism and your right to .. what's the phrase I'm looking for, oh .. get answers.

I like to think of it this way. Say your daughter colored on the wall. You ask her and she says no. End of conversation, right?

You'd be a sad excuse for a parent if it were so.

It's analogous to being a reporter.

"Mr. President, do you think your administration made any mistakes leading up to 9-11?"


End of conversation, right?

Didn't seem to work for Clinton and most on the right would not have accepted that - and didn't. And no one died from what Clinton did. Arguably people died because of the investigation and the resource sop that followed.

But people have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the man who put them in the situation can't think on his feet, what makes anyone think he can think sitting down? If the man whose "The Buck Stop's Here" moment involves shooting one on his 1,100-acre ranch, well he is ducking responsiblity and accountability.

Guess whose job it is to make him look up and face the nation?

If you get a non-answer answer, it's your job as a reporter to get a "real" answer. Anyone can ask a fucking question, written on a pad (Really, try it). It takes a reporter - or anyone with actual fortitude, to get an answer.

i didn't watch the press conference as I was on the phone, yes at that late hour, trying to get some women to use their names in a civil right's discrimination article. Did I press them to come forward and use their names or did I accept the "I really don't feel comfortable"?

I got four of the six women to use their names. And guess what that means? I don't have to use anonymous sources. People crap their pants when reporters use anon sources (as do I, I hate it). Well, you don't get people to go on the record by accepting "no."

You don't get people to go on the record without at least explaining the benefits of doing so and, if true, that their fears are unwarranted (which from your experience as a reporter covering many stories, you know almost always are). I'm not taking White House coverage here, because I've never done that.

The president cannot be considered "on the record" if he just reads a prepared statement and expects to give ill-prepared and repetative answers.

If you just accept "no" you are a lame-ass reporter and there are those on the right with brains who realize this. I believe they just feel sorry for their president for looking - by wide report (blogs and the newspapers) - like he was in front of a class trying to recite a memorized poem.

And they get defensive.

Random examples, not all included to make my point:

[Missing the point] -- RightWingNews.com: One other thing that irritated me about the press conference tonight was the idea that Bush should apologize for 9/11. What a load of horse puck! Maybe I just don't remember it, but I don't recall any demands for Clinton to apologize for the first WTC attack, for the Oklahoma City bombing, for the Khobar Towers bombings, for our African embassy bombings, for turning down Sudan's offer to hand over Bin Laden in 1996, for the US Cole bombing, etc, etc, etc.

Moreover, do we hear these calls for apologies every time there's a terrorist attack in Israel? Again, maybe I just missed this, but when was the last time Ariel Sharon was asked by an Israeli reporter to apologize because some Hamas terrorist blew himself up on a bus?

Using the pherase "apologizing for 9-11" misses the point. No one is askign him to do that. They are asking him to apologize for any mistakes Intelligence and his appointed Cabinet seem to have made.

Buzzmachine: What would you have asked the Pres?
: If you'd been invited to the Pres conference last night, what would you have asked the Pres?

I wouldn't have asked what the press did. I wouldn't have kept harping for an apology, a confession of failure, a mea culpa, a begging for forgiveness, a rendition of Feelings with feeling. That's not news. That's not policy. That's meaningless. It's spin.

Right now on the FoxNews afternoon talk show, they're replaying the questions reporters asked last night and asking the audience whether they are -- of course -- "fair and balanced." You can guess the answers.

I'd ask instead whether they were good questions. Too many weren't.

Also below, I suggest that the White House press office -- or any flack in power -- would be wise to ask bloggers to a press conference to do what reporters are supposed to do: Ask the questions that we, the people, would ask if we'd been invited.

So what would you ask the Pres?

A Small Victory.net: ... Richard Clarke's apology was not unequivocal. It was self-serving grandstanding. It was his way of thumbing his nose at the president and his administration. I hope Bush never apologizes to the United States for the events of 9/11, because that would be admitting fault, and he has none here. None at all. Nothing in the world could have prevented those planes from swinging into the towers and the Pentagon and falling in a field in PA except for a very accurate crystal ball. As far as I know, the White House has yet to acquire one of those. ...

When did we become at war with each other? When did the Democrats and the left become so concerned with cornering the president into admitting guilt for something he didn't do that they have forgotten we are at war and we have a common enemy who happen to carry bombs and harbor a deep hatred for all of us, Democrat or Republican or socialist or whatever political persuasion you may present? ...

Also ASV.net: After a review. my final take on tonight's speech.

I am damn proud this man is my president. His resolve, his determination and his sincerety are just some of the reasons I will be voting for him in Novemeber.

The White House press corp, on the other hand, should be ashamed of themselves.

Also "Amused" an against-the-grain commentator at ASV: Resolve? Determination?

Ah yes... The shrub's resolve to never admit that he misled the nation. His determination to invade Iraq regardless of the consequences. His steadfast refusal to admit that there were no WMDs. His backbone in preventing any photos of returning dead soldiers. His insistence in blocking the work of the 9/11 commission. His courage in refusing to testify without Dick Cheney there to protect him. His conviction on earlier drug charges. (Oops, how did that slip in?) His bravery in cutting taxes and letting our children pay for his war. His commitment to the presidency, where he's spent 40% of his time on vacation.

Yes, I can certainly see all the things you admire about this president. The press corps should, indeed, be ashamed.

Another commentator "syn" at ASV: I am voting for Bush because the left-leaning press corp hates him.

These gutless asshats are working hard towards assuring Americans will be slaughtered so they can have another big story to write.

Bin Laden was responsible for the attacks yet the fucked-up press continues to distract us from that truth. I can only concluded from their words actions that they wish to see all Americans dead, thousands of deaths will provides better headlines. The press has way to much power.

Yep, why I say no one should ask any questions at all. Ever. Asking questions is decidely unAmerican. Isn't it? Saddam hated them, too.

[Sorry about all the ASV links, she enamored me with her anti-Wonkette rant. Loved it ...]

Michael Graham at National Review Online: KINDA EASY Bush called on 15 reporters. It didn't seem like that many, partially because the questions were so predictable. Where was the heat?

And my personal favorite from a commentator over at OliverWillis.com: Mutherfukker! That shit for brains mutherfukker refused, repeatedly, to express any (MUTHERFUKKER!) ANY apology for his failings or the failings of his lame assed pathetic administration (these are the mutherfukking GROWNUPS?). Is there anyone out there who is so brainwashed by their partisan momentum as to be blind to his deeply sub-average mind at a time when we need the best minds we've got to get us out of this shitbomb that moron has chained us to? Anyone? Come on mutherfukkers, SPEAK THE FUCK UP!
Posted by Thurber Hamm at April 13, 2004 09:44 PM