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Froomkin: Why does the press ignore Bush's credibility problem?

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 01:25 PM
Original message
Froomkin: Why does the press ignore Bush's credibility problem?
WP, "White House Briefing": It's the Credibility, Stupid
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, February 3, 2006


President Bush's fundamental challenge as he tries to regain his political footing is that most Americans don't trust him anymore.

In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, for instance, 53 percent of Americans said they do not consider him honest and trustworthy. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public in making its case for war in Iraq. Serious stuff.

And yet, when Bush faces the press corps -- either en masse, in a news conference, or in the occasional sit-down interview -- the central issue of credibility typically goes unexplored.

That may be why so many Bush critics are so frustrated with the mainstream media coverage of the president....There is a reason members of the press corps don't grill Bush on issues like his credibility. But it's not (as many of my readers often complain) because they're craven.

It's the structure of the relationship. At a typical press conference, there are in fact quite a few tough questions....Typically, however, Bush didn't actually answer the question -- choosing to respond with some generic comments about his authority. And, like many tough questions, it was not aggressively followed up. Bush does not tolerate multiple questions from a single reporter, and other reporters are loathe to give up their questions to repeat one from a colleague....

(NOTE: Froomkin discusses this issue at length as his column goes on.)


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/20...
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds like a good campaign slogan: It's the Credibility, Stupid
Edited on Fri Feb-03-06 01:28 PM by liberal N proud
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. i agree - quick someone send it up the "stovepipe" to the party leaders
think they'll get it?
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Vinnie From Indy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. So because one reporter doesn't want to share his cookie with another
America continues to applaud Bush's dismal performance as Prez?
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. That sounds like what Froomkin is saying
How that differs from craven cowardice, I'm not sure. If there is a distinction, it's surely one without a difference.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. yes, well... that's about the long and short of it..
:nopity:

i think this piece was in part, a pr piece for some in the press who are TRYING to get at, and report the real issues - we do need to be reminded from time to time, that real investigative journalism still exist, (and they have do great/excellent work) and an honest (if not gentle) cristism of the conditions that journalists have to work under.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Sorry, not buying. Not what you said, but the excuses the so-called
"journalists" have to offer, here.

I was on the air for 25 years. MOST of it was in news, reporting, anchoring, etc. In my last job before I retired, I HAD to ask tough questions. And I was an entertainment reporter. But just because some celebrity's PR machinery warned us not to broach such difficult topics as 1) a recent divorce, 2) a recent arrest, 3) a recent affair, 4) a recent drunk-&-disorderly spree, 5) a recent firing, 6) a recent indictment, 7) a recent WHATEVER IT WAS, didn't mean my supervisor didn't want to know as much as possible about that-which-must-not-be-probed, and put it straight out on the air. That didn't mean I wasn't supposed to go after it, even if I knew the interviewee might walk out on me (and one of 'em did - only to be eager for me to do another interview about a different project at a later date - I don't think said celebrity even remembered walking out on me), I still had to at least give it a shot. Even if somebody else got the chance to use my soundbite (which they all did), even if everybody else at the roundtable session was afraid to ask that question - but still wished they had the nerve to do so anyway. I had to ask. I had to FIND A WAY to broach the question. I was literally on orders to ask. Didn't matter if I was nervous or reluctant to piss somebody off, OR NOT. That was my job and what I'd been hired to do. And no retaliatory boycott ever held for very long. WHATTHEFUCK are they afraid of? ESPECIALLY now, when bush is NOT negotiating from a position of strength, and the polls on his ALLEGED trustworthiness have been consistently against him - for quite some time. WHATTHEFUCK are they afraid of? I got paid a LOT less than these people do, and I found ways to do MY job. WHATTHEFUCK is the matter with them? If they get fired, they still have a LOT cushier landing pads to land on than I ever did, considering their salary/benefits/perks packages.

No sympathies from me for any of these panty-waists.

It really speaks loudly and clearly about people's views of the media - when they more and more frequently voice the wish that somebody OUTSIDE the news biz - like an Oprah or a Jon Stewart - would be doing these interviews and asking these questions. Maybe that's a signal that some of these high-priced whores ought to move over and let people who know how to do the job step in and show them how it's done. Pretty shabby state of affairs in news, these days. Not sorry I left. Especially now. Not sorry - AT ALL.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Great post, Calimary! nt
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks. I find it utterly reprehensible the GROSS dereliction of duty
they're all passing off as news coverage these days. Just disgraceful! I don't CARE if they're frightened or intimidated or bullied. If that's the case, WHATTHEFUCK is wrong with THEIR managers, supervisors, and editors - reassign the timid one and bring on somebody who goes for the jugular and gets the job done? You don't think for one instant that there aren't thousands of eager "gee, I could do that job better than..." journalism students and reporters from smaller markets DYING for the chance to move up the food chain, who couldn't knock those simpering weenies in the presidential kneepad brigades out of the ballpark? Which means those in supervisory positions need some - um - reeducation, too, I guess.

I can STILL hear the bellowing of my supervisor in my cell phone - WHY didn't you ask... or WHY didn't you press them for... or some such thing (which happened only a few times - you learn pretty quickly to forge ahead so you don't keep getting reamed like that). Let's just say if I cowered in my job and just skated around the edges and didn't try to go for it, I'D certainly have been replaced.

And WHATTHEFUCK is the matter with the folks in the White House Press Corpse that they can't figure out some sneaky little side-door way to broach some difficult Do-Not-Touch subject, so you at least get some meatier soundbite, or you get bush or snotty in a huff and walking out, or you get some "no comment" or flustered in-yer-face aggression (that makes THEM look bad, NOT you - and might even be a better, juicier quote than the more straightforward answer or denial you'd expect to get) as a response? I had to do that ALL THE TIME - figure out some OTHER way to get at the same question that might elicit some useful soundbite, if I knew I was going to get stonewalled by asking a more direct question.

For those who claim they dare not rock the boat or face losing that bigtime fancy-ass job with the big salary, I'd question what they've been doing to sock some of those big paychecks away in savings or something - for a rainy day that might come in an angry firing because your supervisor was living in cheney's back pocket and ordered to can your impertinent, uppity ass for asking too many questions. What's wrong with making use of that to get another job as the gutsiest reporter in Washington, or write a tell-all book about it and go on the talk show/lecture/speakers' circuit (where you can make a LOT more)? Or start your own blog? Or become a consultant or something. You'd have made enough of a name for yourself that you wouldn't be that ignorable or radioactive. I mean, here in L.A. there's a radio news anchor who got fired several times from the same place for different transgressions through the years - and guess who's still on the air - back on the same station (under different management) again? This person will always find a home on the air somewhere. Who cares that he/she got sent to the doghouse for awhile? Who even remembers? He/she's back on the air - at the same place, AGAIN. So much for "you'll never eat lunch in this town again." That's just bullshit.

Besides, I'd venture to say that in THIS day and age, when the polls DO INDEED show, consistently over a long time now, that people no longer believe bush or trust him OR his judgment OR competence, you might not make quite a good name for yourself (making yourself more fireproof) if you started turning the heat up on him and his henchmen. David Gregory isn't doing too badly these days, and his head isn't anywhere near the chopping block.

The polls now show, consistently and over quite a while - that bush is NO LONGER NEGOTIATING FROM A POSITION OF STRENGTH. It boggles my mind why more reporters don't seize on that and go for the jugular with him. THEY'VE got the upper hand now. He doesn't, anymore, 'cause he's squandered it along with all that fabled "political capital." I don't know why they're still afraid to make waves. NOW IS A PERFECT TIME TO DO JUST THAT!!!

And it's not as though he hasn't provided them with any material.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Ain't THAT the truth! nt
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I think Froomkin is making the point that BushCo...
Edited on Fri Feb-03-06 02:25 PM by DeepModem Mom
makes it difficult for reporters to report. They are expert at twisting, and hiding, the truth.

ON EDIT, however, Calimary's post above is pretty spot on.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
10. It's the Miltary Industrial Media Complex....read bigtree's thread.
.
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Coes Donating Member (113 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
11. any article
any article that wants to made a statement on policy, and somewhere includes "Bush said..." -> useless POS

I always think of Bush as 'the fake candidate'. Let me explain.

School fraternity needed a new president. So there was a voting contest. And there was one candidate, with enough qualities to become a decent successor to the retiring president. He also had a program that was solid. But in order to have a decent voting, you need to have at least TWO candidates, otherwise you shouldn't bother to go voting at all.

So out of thin air, they grabbed a dude, and made him the second contender. Some twit, no qualities whatsoever, a fake candidate if you will.

And the votes were counted, and the original candidate had 90%+ of the votes. Case closed, the best man won, party, beer, ...

I used to compare Gore with that quality candidate, and Bush with that fake candidate ( and I still do ). So what the hell happened on your side of the Atlantic to get that fake candidate elected???
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Welcome to DU, Coes! What happened is a long story...
involving fraud and favoritism, and it ended with the highest court in our land, which handed our White House to the fake, even though the real candidate got the most votes. This website was begun in response to the theft of our Presidency, in January, 2001, and we here will never, ever "get over it."
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