Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Time Magazine Edition)

Dan Froomkin writes:

Dan Froomkin - Meet the 'New Bush' - washingtonpost.com: Said New Bush:

I truly believe that Congresswoman Pelosi and Harry Reid care just about as much -- they care about the security of this country, like I do. They see -- no leader in Washington is going to walk away from protecting the country. We have different views on how to do that, but their spirit is such that they want to protect America. That's what I believe.

Q. "Just a few days before this election, in Texas, you said that Democrats, no matter how they put it, their approach to Iraq comes down to terrorists win, America loses. What has changed today?"

Bush: "What's changed today is the election is over, and the Democrats won."...

Q. "Vice President Cheney, of course, has made -- takes many of the same positions that Secretary Rumsfeld did on the war. Does he still have your complete confidence?"

Bush's response: "Yes, he does."

Q. "Do you expect him to stay -- "

Bush: "The campaign is over. Yes, he does."

In other words: This time I'm telling you the truth. Honest....

James Carney writes in Time about Bush's press conference, and starts off with a positive spin on Bush's new candor:

Give President Bush credit for being honest about his dishonesty.

But Carney then indicates that reporters soon had reason to believe it was a lie and that Rumsfeld's days were in fact numbered:

After Bush declared his unbending support for Rumsfeld last week, it was telling how few aides and advisers to the President were willing to reaffirm what the President had said. When asked about Bush's Rumsfeld comments, one official didn't try to hide the pain the question caused him. He wouldn't talk about it. He and others made it clear that the President said 'what he had to say.' In other words, Bush's support for Rumsfeld would last only until the last polling station closed on Tuesday night.

[T]he move that might actually have helped Bush and congressional Republicans when it mattered, before election day -- would have been to fire Rumsfeld last week, last month or last year....

[B]y waiting so long he let his pride get in the way of a much-needed change in Iraq policy. That mistake didn't just cost the Republicans seats in the Congress. It may have cost lives.

But here's my question: Don't those reporters who apparently knew it was a lie -- but didn't tell anybody -- bear some responsibility as well? What other lies do the reporters know about, but choose not to report?

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