Thursday, May 12, 2005

What Reporters ctully doing their Job sounds like

Well, well, a member of the press finally stood up and asked W and actual hard, informed and relevant question:

Q Mr. President, I can't let you go from here without a question of terrorism.


Q Latest surveys show that the numbers of terrorism are increasing, not decreasing.


Q Why is that?


Q You have made a lot of efforts.

Well check that out. A question that put the president on the spot by forcing him to explain a failing policy!

So which media outlet just got back from OZ with some new-found courage? ABC, NBC? CBS? CNN? MSNBC? FOX (Puh-leez)?

Nope. This exercise in actual journalism was brought to you by Estonian national TV

They've only had a free press for barely more than a decade now, and already they are doing a better job speaking truth to power, than all the American coporate media outlets combined.

And it isn't just the Estonians showing up the American press corps either, here's a question from Latvian TV :

Q The sentiment of anti-Americanism, as I'm sure you know, is quite widespread in Europe, and in my country, as well. Do you think there is any degree of your own fault in the fact that this sentiment is on the rise or --

In other Words "Mr. President are you a big part of the reason so many of your former allies now hate America?"

Its not a question you'll hear dear Wolf Blitzer ask anytime soon. In fact, its not a question any American reporter has had the testicles/ovaries to ask to date.

W's answers in both cases were worthless as far as actually providing thoughful insight. They sounded like they were derived by playing mix and match with random lines from his stump speeches. But that's not the point.

Yes, Bush may have dodged the answers, but at least the questions got asked, and the world could see W's slimy wriggling in real-time. The answer to the terrorism question, though, was notable because it was laugh-out-loud stupid: There are more terrorist attacks because we've been so successful in attacking terrorism.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that's why. If we weren't trying to find the enemy and bring him to justice, the world would look relatively peaceful.
...And so when you engage the enemy, when you try to bring them to justice, they don't like to be brought to justice. .. so part of the reasons why activity is up is because we're chasing them down...

Q How long it takes to curb, finally?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that's a good question. However long -- it takes as long as necessary. I just don't know. I don't have a -- I can't give you a timetable...

See that thing at the end ? The Reporter even asked a question, known in the biz as a follow-up question designed to elicit more information when an answer is incomplete or unclear. We should try that once in a while

And apparently it ain't just the Baltic TV boys who actually practice something resembling the journalistic craft.

This question comes from Roundtable with Foreign Print Journalists

Q: Mr. President, a few months ago you mentioned in Brussels the violence in The Netherlands. I presume you referred then to the murder of moviemaker [Theo] van Gogh.


Q: And that murder reminded the Dutch that they have a common interest with you -- with the U.S. in combating terrorism. But some critics argue that tensions in Dutch society and in the world -- between Muslims and non-Muslims -- were not only a result of 9/11, but also a result of the way you responded to 9/11, especially with the Iraq war. What is your answer to those critics?

THAT Virginia, is what a REAL reporter is supposed to sound like. Again, the answer was nothing special; a duck of the essential question and rant about evil-doers and extremists. But the wonder of the thing is that the question was asked at all.

And then there's this incredible moment. A reporter asks the $64,000 question that is at the heart of Bush's foreign policy:

Q: Mr. President, you're often speaking about freedom, and about the march to freedom, and about -- freedom. How do you define freedom?

Inasmuch as George has only used that word approximately 4,968,758 times, in this term alone, as a justification for everything from the War and Taxes to Social Security; you'd think somebody would have asked this one by now.

And you know what? This time the answer was actually informative. Though, it made me wonder if W realizes that by his definition, Freedom has yet to march into America:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I view freedom as where government doesn't dictate. { like, oh say, a private end of life decision for a brain dead woman? }

Government is responsive to the needs of people. { and the People needed the Bankruptcy bill and the Patriot act how exactly?}

We say "of the people, by the people, and for the people." And a free society is one if the people don't like what is going on, they can get new leaders. { Cough, Florida, Cough, Diebold Cough Cough }

and then there was an absolute showstopper of a question, the one that SHOULD have been the first one asked at every presidential press availability:

Q: Mr. President, ..promoting democracy in the world is a very ambitious goal; and achieve peace, changing the ... But such a far-reaching idealism can also easily lead to moral inconsistencies that risk to undermine your credibility. For instance, how does the way detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being handled, how does that relate to your promotion of democracy and the rule of law?

In other words: "How can you expect the world not to think you are full of shit when you talk about one thing and do the opposite"?

W's answer revealed the utter depths of his Cluelessness. He seems to think that the only problem we have in holding the moral high ground is that those darn Abu Gharib pictures made us look bad. Seriously:

I appreciate that. That, and, for example, the pictures people saw about the prison --...I can understand people being concerned about prison abuse when they see the pictures out of Abu Ghraib, ...I'm realistic enough to know that images on TV have sullied our country's image, at times. And we've just got to continue to spread -- tell people the truth, be open about the mistakes of Abu Ghraib, hold people to account."
{Would it be impolite to note that we've just cleared every officer involved in Abu Gharib except the initial whistleblower?}

The reporter also asked an excellent follow-up about the limits of America's Freedom Doctrine, but Bush's answer was so nonsensical that attempting to read it may cause a sprain of your frontal lobes, so I'm omitting it as a public service.

(oh Okay, but you were warned.....I'll put in just a little protective snark to help :

Q: Would you say -- can I follow up?


Q: You say you are a realistic person, but there's also a problem with the limits. What are the limits of your idealistic policy? Does every autocratic regime, like Iran, just fear -- just to have fear of the American military power?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, as I said, listen, I think issues ought to be solved diplomatically. My last choice is to commit military power.

{ Unless, say, its an oil-rich country whose ruler "tried to kill your daddy"}

It's a very difficult, hard decision to put people in harm's way.
{ Funny, that's not what you Told Pat Robertsonbefore the invasion}

On the other hand, I do believe people ought to be free. I said in my speech, I'm going to say it again in Europe, that we ought to have a goal to end tyranny. Why should we be content when we know people are living in fear? We should have a goal to end the pandemic of AIDS, as well.

{ WTF? apple, meet orange, orange, meet apple}

In other words, these are big goals. If you don't set big goals, you never achieve big things.
{like that? I got it off a Sucessories poster I have in the oval Office}

And I recognize it's -- I didn't say end tyranny tomorrow, I said, end tyranny over time.
{ and as that fellar Einstein said, Time is infinite, so I'm really off the hook timetable wise}

And in my speeches that I talk about, I always say, we need to work with friends to achieve -- and I believe we can achieve those goals. But I'm also recognizing that -- there's an issue, for example, in -- the idealistic position was to work with the world, the United Nations, France and the United States to get Syria out of Lebanon. But there's a consequence to that -- there will be a vacuum. And now we've got to work, if we get Syria completely out -- and I say, "if," because we're able to measure troops, it's harder to measure intelligence services -- but the statement is, all out -- not halfway out, not partially out, but all out, and meaning it when you say it, by the way.
{--?__! I hsve no words}

But there's a consequence to that, and that consequence is, is that there will be a period of time when the government, a new government is going to have to try to figure out how to make sure there's minority rights. There's a lot of religious groups. And there the world needs to help this new democracy -- I say, "new democracy," a democracy without Syrian influence that basically determined the course of action -- to help that government go forward. That's another role we should play. But if you didn't have an idealistic streak in you, you wouldn't be saying, it's possible to achieve democracy in Lebanon. Yet, I believe a democracy will be achieved in Lebanon, and I know it will serve as an important example in a neighborhood that is desperate for democracy.

{ could have sworn we were talking about Iraq a moment before}

I could keep rolling, because I believe that -- I think you're seeing the beginning of great, historic change. And it's going to be bumpy, it's going to be rocky and it's not going to be easy. I just told you, we have our own government -- here we are, the proponents of democracy, and we, ourselves, were certainly not perfect for many years. And we've still got work to do here at home, don't get me wrong. But I feel passionately about the freedom movement because I truly believe that etched in everybody's soul is the desire to be free, and that there is universality in freedom. And I reject the concept that certain people cannot self-govern, or shouldn't be free because of the nature of their religion or the color of their skin.

{ Can you count the number of times I clenched my jaw and gave you a steely glance while saying things like "hard work and freedom"? Uncle Karl taught me to do that}

And this just in:
It appears that even Dutch high school students are outclassing the American "pros" (from Dan Froomkin's Column in the Wapo yesterday

I wrote in yesterday's column about the tough questions Bush apparently faced from a group of Dutch students. I say "apparently" because the press was ushered out of the room after the first two.

Well, Dutch NOS television caught up with some of the students afterward, and as far as I can tell from this highly amusing and only somewhat helpful automated translation , after the press was ushered out, one student asked Bush if he realizes his policies have frightened moderate Muslims. And another student apparently asked about the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Now that's just sad. Why, the last time the President met with an unscreened group of Americans for an unscripted discussion......

well okay, thats never actually happened....


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