Friday, October 14, 2005

Staying on Script

The White House is catching heat for allegedly "scripting" yesterday's teleconference between President Bush, and U.S. troops in Iraq.

Here's an AP account of the teleconference. Note the use of the term "scripted" in the headline. But when you read the actual story, you'll find that the referenced "scripting" was actually a rehearsal of the sequence in which soldiers would answer questions. "Scripting" suggests everything was preplanned, including the questions and answers. But in her preparation with the troops, Defense Department official Allison Barber uses the word "if," indicating that President Bush didn't decide which questions he would ask until the event began.

Of course, the MSM is having none of this. The AP even sought out a quote from an anti-war group, which grouses that "half the group were officers."

It's often easy to label the MSM as hypocrites, and this is no exception. As I watched the talking heads this morning, there were the predictable exchanges between studio anchors and reporters at the White House. What most viewers don't realize is these exchanges are usually scripted--in many cases, the reporter on the White House lawn knows what question the anchor will ask at the end of the report, allowing them to prepare a polished answer. Is this any worse than the troop "rehearsal" before the teleconference?

But the best example of media hypocrisy comes from Bill Sammon of the Washington Times. Appearing with Brit Hume's on FNC last night, Sammon noted that the MSM had no problem with the media "planting" a question with National Guard troops in Iraq, just before their Q-and-A session with Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

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