Friday, October 14, 2005

"Staged" Bush teleconference a non-story

I am now convinced the Republican rift will heal and we'll be back to politics as usual pretty quickly. Why? Because anti-Bush stupidity has returned to the media.

The AP is reporting that a Bush teleconference billed as a talk with the troops was "staged":
It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.
Okay, where to start. First, let's look at the word "staged." The perception that this word gives is that the soldiers had their answers scripted for them and were given performance cues. Not only is their no evidence of this, there is no claim of it. The use of staged in the headline is either an act of sensationalism, or it is just plain sloppy journalism by use of inaccurate words.

Next, let's look at the claim the questions were choreographed. What the hell does that mean, exactly? Are questions only choreographed when President Bush has a media event designed to get the message of the administration out to the wider public? What about when a President Clinton would ask pointed questions of a single mother when trying to get, say, his government health care message out? Every President uses these events to get a message out, and every President uses questions and carefully chosen, sympathetic audiences in order to get their message across. The advantage for an anti-Bush reporter in using "choreographed" is they can make the event look fake and contrived. I'm fine with that, as long as they shoot down all events of these types by politicians of all party affiliations. And they can start by calling Bill Clinton's patented lip bite "choreographed."

If you read the article a little further, you see that the author tries to make this teleconference look like a movie set even more by pointing out that Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Alison Barber asked that two bottles be removed from the shot, gave a quick pep talk to the soldiers, and arranged in what order people would answer questions. I'll bet you a dollar that when the networks had their "common man" panels after the Presidential debates last year, they prepped the panel in much the same way. Does that mean that their panels were just contrived events, or does that mean they are trying to make the segment go as smoothly as possible with the fewest possible distractions for the viewers.

The left wonders how the right can see the media as liberal. I give you exhibit 'A'.

Just two additional items of note.

One of the soldiers involved in Bush's teleconference had a blog. He discusses it here.

If staged is what you want, NBC shows how it's really done.

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