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April 14, 2004
RAND SIMBERG SUGGESTS that the good reviews for Bush's press conference / speech stemmed from "the soft bigotry of low expectations." There's probably something to that.
But he was also helped by the obtuseness of the press, which was too busy grandstanding and trying to score political points to ask actual tough questions. Against that background, Bush can't help but look good.
A few tough questions that the press could have asked:
What are you going to do about Iran's role as a source of destabilization in the area? And its rather obvious efforts to acquire nuclear weapons? And its sponsorship of anti-American terrorism?
A year after the invasion, the Marines are seeking donations from blog readers to set up TV stations in Iraq so as to counter anti-American propaganda from Al Jazeera and other hostile media. Why wasn't this a priority from day one? Why isn't it one now?
Why didn't you fire George Tenet after 9/11?
When Iraqi blogs were reporting problems with Sadr months ago, why didn't the U.S. government take action sooner?
Of course, it's doubtful that many of the correspondents were familiar with these issues. Which is why it was easy for Bush to look good. I would have liked to hear the answers, though.
UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has the right idea -- invite bloggers to press conferences. They know this stuff! Plus, there's an additional advantage, noted by Mickey Kaus in his review of David Sanger's unfortunate post-speech analysis:
That's the thing about news analysis from mainstream print journalists. They have to rush to publish in time to meet their deadline. All that emphasis on speed! Unlike the leisurely world of blogging, where we have time to weigh and reconsider and savor the nuances.
What he said.