Ed Driscoll

I Guess He'd Just Rather Not

Ian Schwartz of The Political Teen has video of a petulant Mike Wallace who believes that “Karl Rove will not permit [President Bush] to sit down with me”. Ian adds that Wallace “acts as if it is President Bush’s duty to meet and be interviewed by him”.

Gee, I can’t imagine why Bush would not want to appear on CBS, can you?

And it’s not like Wallace is attempting to find anything that would actually be, you know, news. As Jay Rosen wrote last year, the traditional MSM is all about The Gotcha, especially when it comes to administration whose views they, seemingly to a man, oppose:

[Ken Auletta of the New Yorker], for example, can describe Bush at a barbeque for the press in August, where a reporter says to the president: is it really true you don’t read us, don’t even watch the news? Bush confirms it.

And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You’re making a powerful assumption, young man. You’re assuming that you represent the public. I don’t accept that.

Which is a powerful statement. And if Bush believes it (a possibility not to be dismissed) then we must credit the president with an original idea, or the germ of one. Bush’s people have developed it into a thesis, which they explained to Auletta, who told it to co-host Brooke Gladstone:

That’s his attitude. And when you ask the Bush people to explain that attitude, what they say is: We don’t accept that you have a check and balance function. We think that you are in the game of “Gotcha.” Oh, you’re interested in headlines, and you’re interested in conflict. You’re not interested in having a serious discussion… and exploring things.

Further data point: The Bush Thesis. If Auletta’s reporting is on, then Bush and his advisors have their own press think, which they are trying out as policy. Reporters do not represent the interests of a broader public. They aren’t a pipeline to the people, because people see through the game of Gotcha. The press has forfeited, if it ever had, its quasi-official role in the checks and balances of government. Here the Bush Thesis is bold. It says: there is no such role– official or otherwise.

And hence, no obligation to appear with Mike Wallace.