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Pampered Bush meets real reporter-See the actual interview

 
 
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:24 pm
John Nichols: Pampered Bush meets a real reporter
By John Nichols, a native Wisconsinite, who has written for The Capital Times for the past decade.
June 29, 2004

On the eve of his recent sojourn in Europe, President Bush had an unpleasant run-in with a species of creature he had not previously encountered often: a journalist.

He did not react well to the experience.

Bush's minders usually leave him in the gentle care of the White House press corps, which can be counted on to ask him tough questions about when his summer vacation starts.

Apparently under the mistaken assumption that reporters in the rest of the world are as ill-informed and pliable as the stenographers who "cover" the White House, Bush's aides scheduled a sit-down interview with Carole Coleman, Washington correspondent for RTE, the Irish public television network.

Coleman is a mainstream European journalist who has conducted interviews with top officials from a number of countries - her January interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell was apparently solid enough to merit posting on the State Department's Web site.

Unfortunately, it appears that Coleman failed to receive the memo informing reporters that they are supposed to treat this president with kid gloves. Instead, she confronted him as any serious journalist would a world leader.

She asked tough questions about the mounting death toll in Iraq, the failure of U.S. planning, and European opposition to the invasion and occupation. And when the president offered the sort of empty and listless "answers" that satisfy the White House press corps - at one point, he mumbled, "My job is to do my job" - she tried to get him focused by asking precise follow-up questions.

The president complained five times during the course of the interview about the pointed nature of Coleman's questions and follow-ups - "Please, please, please, for a minute, OK?" the hapless Bush pleaded at one point, as he demanded his questioner go easy on him.

After the interview was done, a Bush aide told the Irish Independent newspaper that the White House was concerned that Coleman had "overstepped the bounds of politeness."

As punishment, the White House canceled an exclusive interview that had been arranged for RTE with first lady Laura Bush.

Did Coleman step out of line? Of course not. Watch the interview (it's available on the www.rte.ie Web site) and you will see that Coleman was neither impolite nor inappropriate. She was merely treating Bush as European and Canadian journalists do prominent political players. In Western democracies such as Ireland, reporters and politicians understand that it is the job of journalists to hold leaders accountable.

The trouble is that accountability is not a concept that resonates with our president. The chief executive who gleefully declares that he does not read newspapers cannot begin to grasp the notion that journalists might have an important role to play in a democracy. And, if anything, the hands-off approach of the White House press corps has reinforced Bush's conceits.

Bush would be well served by tougher questioning from American journalists, especially those who work for the television networks. And it goes without saying that more and better journalism would be a healthy corrective for our ailing democracy.

Come to think of it, maybe one of the American networks should hire Carole Coleman and make her its White House correspondent. It would be Ireland's loss and America's gain.
---------------------------------------

See the actual interview:

The interview is available online here (video courtesy of RTE): http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/0624/primetime/primetime56_1c.smil

{ indy editor note: listen to the MP3 of the interview: http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/rte-carol-coleman-bush.mp3
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 10,689 • Replies: 116
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:33 pm
I wached the interview and was stunned by Bush's inability to answer any questions coherently.
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:43 pm
Cool.

Bookmark.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:43 pm
Quote:
Politicus interruptus
Prez's media handlers complain to embassy about RTE interviewBy Susan Falvella-Garraty
[email protected]

http://www.irishecho.com/newspaper/images/14792.jpg

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The White House has officially registered its concerns with the Irish embassy over a television interview conducted by RTE's Washington correspondent, Carole Coleman.
President Bush is well known for giving nicknames to staff and members of the press. Following his trip to Ireland last week, he might have a new one for Ireland's state broadcaster: Radio-Television-Evil. The interview, conducted in an aggressive style, was distressing enough to the White House, but it was followed 24 hours later by an unexpected peek, courtesy of an RTE cameraman, of the president in his underwear while leaning toward a window at Dromoland Castle,


Besides registering their displeasure at the diplomatic level, White House officials then withdrew their agreement to an interview originally scheduled for Saturday morning with First Lady Laura Bush, which was also due to be conducted by Coleman. No explanation was offered as to why the interview with Mrs. Bush was canceled.


The row started on the eve of the president's departure from Washington to Shannon. Coleman was allowed an exclusive interview in the Map Room of the White House.


Although over the years there have been several presidential interviews by journalists for Irish newspapers, this was the first Irish television interview since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.


Coleman proceeded with consistently definitive questioning of President Bush, who was clearly rattled at the intensity.


"Please, please, for a minute, OK?" Bush said in response to a question about the Middle East. "It'd be better if you'd let me finish my answers and then you can follow up, if you don't mind."


The director of the newly formed White House office of Global Communications, Mary Catherine Andrews, rang the Irish embassy's press secretary immediately after the interview was broadcast on the RTE Prime Time news show to express concern.


"The White House rang Thursday evening," said Irish embassy spokeswoman Síghle Dougherty. "They were concerned over the number of interruptions and that they thought the president was not given an opportunity to respond to the questions."


The White House registered its concerns with the embassy because embassy staff had helped vet the request for the interview.


"The White House came to us weeks before the summit and asked what we thought of the request" by RTE for an interview, Dougherty said.


"The White House made it clear they only wanted to do television, and we explained that RTE was certainly a credible news organization.


"They were mostly troubled by what they said was the way the president was 'talked over.' "


During the interview, President Bush disputed the assertion by Coleman that the world had become a more dangerous place since the invasion by U.S. and British troops into Iraq, and that the focus had shifted from going after Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks to going after Saddam Hussein.


"On Sept. 11, 2001, we were attacked in an unprovoked fashion -- everybody thought the world was calm," the president said. "There've been bombings since then, not because of my response to Iraq. There were bombings in Madrid. There were bombings in Istanbul. There were bombings in Bali. There were killings in Pakistan."


At one point the president referred to Saddam Hussein's use of weapons of mass destruction against his own people.


"Indeed, Mr. President, but you didn't find the weapons of mass destruction," Coleman retorted.


"Let me finish," Bush said. "Let me finish, please. Please. You ask the questions and I'll answer them, if you don't mind."


As the interview continued, President Bush admonished Coleman three more time in similar terms as the two wrestled over control of the direction of the interview.


The tenor of the interview was established early when Coleman pointed out that the president should not expect a "céad a míle fáilte" the next day by the majority of Irish people when Air Force One touched down in Shannon. Many Irish people, Coleman added, were deeply disappointed over the U.S. military's treatment of prisoners in Iraq and detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba.


"I hope the Irish people understand the great values of our country, and if they think that a few soldiers represent the entirety of America, they really don't understand America then," the president said.


The Bush White House has made huge, and largely successful, efforts to control the media's coverage of the president.


Even Coleman had to agree to not use her own cameramen and technicians in order to get the interview. The interview was taped by White House staff television technicians.


The massive security efforts had gone along as planned, with 6,000 officers providing security for the President and Mrs. Bush during their short stay in Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare. Demonstrators never got anywhere close to the president during the 18 hours he was on the ground.


But if the demonstrators had to try to make the case that Bush was like an emperor with no clothes, it was RTE who gave them the pictures to prove their point.


The president appeared at the window of his hotel room and could be seen from the waist up wearing an undershirt. The video was distributed to all worldwide media outlets and were previewed by journalists at the press-pool center at the castle.


Moments after the distribution, a memo was sent to all major media outlets from the Irish government prohibiting the broadcasting of Bush in his underwear.


But it was too late. Sky News had already broadcast the image.


Taoiseach Bertie Ahern later told Sky's "Sunday With Adam Boulton" program: "The cameras were meant to have been off five minutes earlier."


He added: "Certainly a camera crew that was working for us should not have been filming George Bush's bedroom. I mean, that isn't what we're meant to be doing."


Showing why he's earned the moniker "the Teflon Taoiseach," Ahern concluded: "In actual fact he looks a very fit man, probably far fitter than me. He goes out jogging and cycling every day and he's a very healthy-looking fellow."

Source
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:45 pm
OOOoooh, I'm really looking forward to this phase. I've been waiting for him to be forced out from behind the curtain since, oh, November of 2000. Live debates, especially!!

(Is there a transcript anywhere?)
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:49 pm
White House Transcript
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 12:52 pm
Thanks, Walter!
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 01:05 pm
Quote:
Bush pleads for courtesy

Washington, DC, Jun. 25 (UPI) -- An Irish reporter threw courtesy aside and repeatedly interrupted President George W. Bush during a television interview at the White House.

"Let me finish. Let me finish. May I finish?" Bush said early in his interview with Radio and Television Ireland Thursday, according to a transcript released Friday.

"Let me finish. Let me finish, please. Please. You ask the questions and I'll answer them, if you don't mind," he said in a second interruption moments later.

The two pleadings were followed by three more during an 11-minute exchange in advance of Bush's trip to Ireland, where he was to attend a summit meeting of the European Union.

In the interview with reporter Carole Coleman, Bush defended the invasion of Iraq and denied the contention that the world was more dangerous because of it. He also rejected the idea that bringing democracy to the Middle East -- a key aim of the United States in Iraq -- should not await resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Source

Looks like the White House and the supporting media are whining because Irish/European journalists aren't nice enough. Which is at least pathetic.
This was an interview, not a chat in front of the church after Sunday Mass!
0 Replies
 
JustanObserver
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 01:06 pm
This guy is hilarious. Just wait until the live debates. I just hope Kerry doesn't go at it with kid's gloves. Bush looks like he'd collapse like a wet tissue if you really give it to him. The SOTU address was a great preview.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 01:09 pm
Kerry's going to have to be careful not to seem like a bully, but even just putting Bush in front of cameras to say unscripted things that can be called on by someone right then and there...

<rubbing hands together gleefully>

Hope that there is an Edwards - Cheney VP debate, too.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:01 pm
Edwards, Edwards? Did I miss something.......?

I love this thread, BBB. Thanks for transcript, Walter.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:03 pm
Oh, nothing to miss no, that's just a match-up I'd enjoy watching.
0 Replies
 
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:26 pm
JustanObserver wrote:
This guy is hilarious. Just wait until the live debates. I just hope Kerry doesn't go at it with kid's gloves. Bush looks like he'd collapse like a wet tissue if you really give it to him. The SOTU address was a great preview.


You're assuming there will be debates - besides, it was Russert that treated him with kid gloves.....
0 Replies
 
Jer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:51 pm
Wow!
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:04 pm
Random observations from the transcript (thanks, Walter!)

Dubya wrote:
But we have found a capacity for him to make a weapon. See, he had the capacity to make weapons. He was dangerous.

Thank God. I was beginning to think that they'd never find anything!

Dubya wrote:
You've got a democracy in Pakistan

Gee, that sounds awfully familiar. Where have I heard something like that before. Oh yeah, I remember:
Gerald Ford in 1976 wrote:
I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of those countries is independent, autonomous: it has its own territorial integrity and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.

Proof that Dubya is channelling the almost-dead spirit of Gerry Ford, and they're both making outrageously preposterous foreign policy statements!

Dubya wrote:
What I'm telling you is democracy can emerge at the same time that a democracy can emerge in the Palestinian state.

Democracy will emerge at the same time that it emerges? What on earth does that mean?

Dubya wrote:
Well, I think, first of all, most of Europe supported the decision in Iraq.

He forgot to add: "...and when I say 'Europe' I mean the leaders of Spain, Poland, Italy, and Denmark. Oh, and that nice man in London... whatsisname... 'Poodleboy!'"
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:06 pm
heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee . . .


Geeze, Joe, that's like kickin' a little old lady . . .



heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee . . .
0 Replies
 
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:09 pm
Except - watching Bush get an ass kicking is fun; until I think of the foot pain tomorrow morning Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
buffytheslayer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:16 pm
C Span ran the interview last week, it was a hoot.

The Emperor Has No Clothes. Bush came across like a 14 yr old petulant boy. In his best Dana Carvey channeling Ross Perot impression, there's Bush boy can I finish, can you please let me finish?

Um, she wasn't really interrupting you, pinhead.

LOL this is why Bush has so few freeform interviews and why the ones he does give are carefully scripted.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:19 pm
Hmmm - would it be fair to say US presidents are not used to the cut and thrust of normal TV interviews in countries like Ireland, Oz, the UK, etc?

They certainly are not used to the normal grilling of question time.
0 Replies
 
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 04:26 pm
I don't think the plural is fair dlowan. Reagan and Bush (I and II) were certainly dolts. Carter and Clinton gave good interview. Nixon could hold his own if he didn't blowup and Johnson would certainly tell the interviewer off in a right smart fashion if it was his mind to do so.
0 Replies
 
 

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