- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
In one corner: Bush; in the other: media
Spats between President Bush and a voracious press have been a fixture of his presidency, and the media landscape is pockmarked with the salvos of their contention.
Mr. Bush has been blunt at times, and journalists have thrown it right back - exemplified most recently by a brief on-camera exchange with NBC News earlier this week. White House counselor Ed Gillespie accused NBC of selectively tweaking an interview, calling the network irresponsible, deceitful and misleading. Uncowed, NBC shoved back, creating the latest crisis du jour at the juncture of media and politics.
The tension began even before he assumed office. While campaigning in 2000, Mr. Bush characterized New York Times reporter Adam Clymer as a “major league [expletive]” just near enough to a live microphone to be heard by a few journalists, who blew the moment up into a regular bomb of a story.
“The guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he’s intercontinental,” Mr. Bush said, adding that Mr. Gregory had been “showing off.” In the years to follow, Mr. Gregory’s sparring matches with the president at press conferences continued, tracked by talk shows and online gossip columns.
Since 2005, the White House has gone proactive, publicly fact-checking news coverage through “Setting the Record Straight,” a feature at the White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov. In the past year, the press office added a comprehensive “Morning Update,” e-mailed to journalists each day outlining pertinent stories, noteworthy headlines and official responses.
“I enjoy good relations with the press corps, and we have a pretty high bar when it comes to complaints. Maybe a nitpick here and there. Our updates in ‘Setting the Record Straight’ are few and far between,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino yesterday.
“Certainly one of the reasons got so much attention was because it is rare for us to reach the boiling point like we did. It has been building for a while,” she said. “A selective edit that mischaracterized what the president said to fit a story line is something that as defenders of the president, we could no longer abide.”
This week’s skirmish was particularly piquant, however.
“This e-mail is to formally request that ‘NBC Nightly News’ and 'The Today Show' air for their viewers President Bush’s actual answer to correspondent Richard Engel’s question about Iran policy and ‘appeasement,’ rather than the deceptively edited version of the president’s answer that was aired,” Mr. Gillespie said in a lengthy missive to NBC President Steve Capus.
“I’m sure you don’t want people to conclude that there is really no distinction between the ‘news’ as reported on NBC and the ‘opinion’ as reported on MSNBC,” he wrote, calling hosts Christopher Matthews and Keith Olbermann “blatantly partisan.”
Some gauge the letter as particularly vigorous.
“Republican presidents have long faced a hostile press. But this was an unusual moment. I don’t remember the White House ever issuing an open letter to a news organization, even though the Bush administration has taken a lot of media punishment over the years,” said Tim Graham of the Media Research Center.
About the Author
- Inside the Beltway: Congress bottoms out in Gallup job approval poll
- Inside the Beltway: The handshake heard 'round the world at Mandela service
- Inside the Beltway: Tea party brews straw poll
- Inside the Beltway: Pricey health care doesn't guarantee a long life
- Inside the Beltway: 'Guns Save Lives Day'
Latest Blog Entries
- The Gipper 24/7: Get the official - and free - Ronald Reagan App
- No kumbaya: Fiscal conservatives snarl at Patty and Paul's budget deal
- Tea party brews up a 2016 presidential straw poll - and Cruz is in the lead
- Americans just say yes: members of Congress should be subject to random drug testing
- 70 percent of Americans say U.S. has lost world respect; 80 percent of GOP, 56 percent of Democrats agree
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow