Bush Press Conference, Press Fans Tear Hair

There’s been lots of whining by disappointed followers of the Washington press, which got its sad fanny kicked by George Bush during the press conference this week. Just as it used to be more fun to tease Red Sox partisans than to watch an actual Red Sox game, there’s a lot more to be enjoyed in the mournful curses going up from the witnesses than there was in the press conference itself. The most energetic imprecations, as always, came from Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler. Somerby, between kicking the walls of his den and breaking #2 pencils in half, scripted and rescripted questions the press corps should have asked. Somerby is always well-informed and entertaining, even if the repetitious fury of his insults seems to stem from bruised idealism and disappointed love. He has ñ or at least once had – higher ideals for the press. He hates to see it reduced to this state. Like any fan, Somerby has scapegoats, who almost always perform as expected. At one of the Democratic primary debates this spring, Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times really did ask this question:

BUMILLER: “Really fast, on a Sunday morning, President Bush has said that freedom and fear have always been at war, and God is not neutral between them. Heís made quite clear in his speeches that he feels God is on Americaís side. Really quick, is God on Americaís side?”

You can find Somerby bewailing it here.

Richard Nixon, on the other hand, thought the President’s press conference went fairly well. This weblog, which he calls The Purgatory Chronicles, has a lot of straightforward, even wise commentary on public affairs. Nixon apparently manages to maintain his blog on an old IBM PCjr with the original chicklet keyboard. Remarkable.

Nixon’s take on the press conference:
(Full post is here.)
NIXON: “One of the reasons for the deep division about Vietnam was that many Americans had lost confidence in what their Government told them about our policy. The American people cannot and should not be asked to support a policy which involves the overriding issues of war and peace unless they know the truth about that policy.

“Bush’s press conference was a solid move in that direction. The policy wonks in foggy bottom will be dissapointed at the thinness of it, but the broader electorate will take heart from his directness and plain-spokenness.”

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