Thursday, July 14, 2005

7/12 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

MR. McCLELLAN: John, you can keep jumping in, but I'm going to try to keep going to other people in this room, as well. And we can have constructive dialogue here, I think, but that's not the way to do it.

Q: It's not my job to have a constructive dialogue, Scott. Sorry.
What the MSM could be asking about:
1. Terrorism/GWoT
2. Our troops in Iraq
3. Supreme Court justices
4. G8 / African hunger/debt
6. Social Security
7. Oil prices
8. Nuclear proliferation in Iran and Korea
9. A bloated, corrupt, inefficient United Nations
10. Hurricane aftermath in Florida and Alabama
What the MSM is actually asking about, in the order that they asked the questions. Statements, speeches and accusations by members of the MSM are considered questions.
Supreme Court: 1 question
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 28 consecutive questions
Terrorism/GWoT: 2 questions
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 5 questions
Our troops in Iraq: 1 question
North Korea: 1 question
NAACP: 1 question
Terrorism/GWoT: 1 question
Justice Souter's house: 1 question
I will take a moment here to comment that this was possibly the stupidest question I have yet seen coming from the fourth estate. I first thought that it must have been asked jokingly but the transcript does not indicate anyone is giggling. The next couple of questions would indicate that it was a setup to get in yet another dig on the Karl Rove business.
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 4 questions
Supreme Court: 2 questions
Terrorism/GWoT: 2 questions
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 12 questions
Supreme Court: 5 questions
Terrorism/GWoT: 1 question
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 2 questions
That's roughly 69 questions asked. Here's the breakdown:
Karl Rove/Valerie Plame: 51 questions - 74%
Supreme Court justices: 8 questions - 12%
Terrorism/GWoT: 6 questions - 9%
Iran and Korea: 1 question - 1%
Our troops in Iraq: 1 question - 1%
NAACP: 1 question - 1%
G8 / African hunger/debt: 0 questions - 0%
HIV/AIDS: 0 questions - 0%
Social Security: 0 questions - 0%
Oil prices: 0 questions - 0%
A bloated, corrupt, inefficient United Nations: 0 questions - 0%
Hurricane aftermath in Florida and Alabama: 0 questions - 0%
Well. I think that the tone that is beginning to come out here is that the members of the White House press corp do not have any respect whatsoever for Scott McClellan. He needs to be replaced with someone who will take control of these briefings. Someone not nearly so nice. Someone who will spit right back when a reporter spits in his face.

For instance, this exchange regarding the frivolous Eminent Domain issue with David Souter's house.
Q Does the President believe that it is outrageous for a Los Angeles advertising man to be conducting a campaign to persuade the town selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, to approve the building of a hotel on the land where Justice Souter's house is located? Or does he regard this as an historic irony resulting from Souter's vote in the case of Kelo versus the City of New London --

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't seen anything on it. Jim, go ahead.

Q You didn't see anything on it? You'd like to evade this one, wouldn't you.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I haven't seen anything on it, Les. I like to see reports before I comment on it.

Q No, it's the other ones he's trying to evade.
My immediate response to the Souter question would have gone something like this:
"What? What are you talking about? The president of the United States has a small mountain of serious issues on his plate every day, 24 hours a day, which directly or indirectly affect the security and wellbeing of the American people. He does not have time nor energy nor the responsibility to even hear about, much less think about frivolous non-issues like that. Obviously you do. Now I will continue to take and answer serious questions but you just threw away your opportunity to actually report something of importance to your readers today.
The "evade" jabs would never have come up.

It is McClellan's job to convey to the MSM the administration's position on the most pressing issues of the day. Anyone who thinks that the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame business is the most pressing issue of the day was asleep on 9/11/01 and has been napping ever since. McClellan needs to say so or step down.

Also commenting:
World O'Crap, Eschaton, The Volokh Conspiracy, Lorie Byrd @ PoliPundit, Kevin Drum, QandO, Rising Hegemon, Suburban Guerrilla

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