13 October, 2005

The Media, Again

[UPDATE: The link referenced below with the headline "Bush Teleconference with Soldiers Staged" now leads to the same article, but has a different (and much more accurate) headline: "Bush Thanks Soldiers in Rehearsed Talk." Original headline cached here.]

Must be bad luck or something, but I've stumbled across another disgusting piece of news media output today. I had seen an earlier version of this article that had a somewhat biased headline, but it wasn't particularly noteworthy. However, its recent incarnation is absolute excrement!

Under the headline, "Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged," the article describes what seems to me to be standard rehearsal/preparations required for a teleconference or informational meeting involving a large number of participants and a range of subjects. In this case, it was the President teleconferencing with 10 officers and enlisted men currently in Tikrit, Iraq.

Knowing how obviously the president enjoys interacting with the military personnel, I'm sure he relished the opportunity to talk to soldiers with on-the-ground experience. Of course it was a photo op too, likely primarily so. Basically unremarkable to me. But apparently I didn't see it for the sinister plot it truly was...

Go read it, if you can bear such snarkiness in a "journalist." I swear, the DNC would've happily written and distributed this. The article breathlessly notes that:

  • The soldiers knew ahead of time what topics the president wanted to address
  • It was predetermined which soldiers would address which topics
  • Topics were expected to be raised by the president in a specific order (An agenda for a meeting?! However, that did not happen in actuality)
  • The president's "advance man" wanted the setting to look nice

Horror of horrors! You mean the soldiers knew in advance what the President expected to talk about, soldiers with relevant areas of expertise/experience were identified to answer ahead of time, an agenda for the meeting was conceived, and there was a desire to make this a good photo op? Oh, the corruption! I don't think I can bear it!

For an entire transcript, which is inherently more informative, try this. Surely this event qualified as "choreographed, but "staged" is a whole 'nother word that doesn't apply here. 'Cause if there was a script for this event, someone neglected to give the President a copy...

CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Good morning, Mr. President, from Tikrit. I'm Captain Brent Kennedy. To my right is Sergeant Major Akeel from the 5th Iraqi Army Division. We're working together here with the Iraqis in Task Force Liberty for the upcoming referendum. We're surging an operation, called Operation Saratoga, that includes the securing of over 1,250 polling sites. We're working right alongside with the Iraqis as they lead the way in securing these sites.

THE PRESIDENT: That's good. And so, like -- I mean, and so the vote is in less than 48 hours -- or about 48 hours, I guess. And so how do you -- how would -- are you confident? I mean, how do you feel the operations are going?

CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Mr. President, I'm going to field that question to Captain Smith.

THE PRESIDENT: I didn't want to give you -- I didn't want to throw you a hardball there, Captain.

Oh yeah, everybody sticking to the script, there.

And just in case you didn't follow the link to the article and you think I'm overstating the level of bias and snarkiness, check just this little bit:

The president also got praise from the Iraqi soldier who was part of the chat.

"Thank you very much for everything," he gushed. "I like you."

Where's my barf bag?