Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Interviewing the President

During his trip to London, President Bush has agreed to give an exclusive interview to a tabloid newspaper - The Sun - which regularly features photos of topless women and National Enquirer-type journalism. The The Washington Post reports thusly:

“After coming to office with a vow to restore dignity to the White House, the president yesterday took a brief sabbatical from that effort: He granted an exclusive interview to a British tabloid that features daily photographs of nude women and articles akin to those found in our own National Enquirer...

“Bush, meanwhile, has given no solo interviews this year to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time or Newsweek. And he hasn't given an exclusive interview in his entire presidency to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and dozens of other major publications....

“Word on Fleet Street is it's an obvious payoff to the Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, the conservative publisher behind many Bush-friendly news outlets such as Fox News. Officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to the Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq.”

The one thing you can say about Republicans is that they are consistent when it comes to money. They love money above all else. It doesn’t matter if someone deals in smut, alcohol, tobacco or gambling. As long as they are willing to give lots of money to the GOP they will be embraced just like Rupert Murdoch whose Fox TV network consistently pushes the boundaries on good taste and morality. Nor does it matter if someone is the leader of a cult and thinks of themself as the second-coming of Christ like the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Just give lots of money to the GOP and all of that can be overlooked. Why, I’m sure that if Larry Flynt were to change his party affiliation tomorrow and start giving money to Republican candidates he would probably be an invited guest at next year’s Republican National Convention.
Now to be fair, I have to admit that the Democrats can grub money right along with the best of them, but at least they are not as self-righteouss about it.

But enough of that rant. I couldn’t help but laugh at the outraged tone in the article above from all of the major newspapers that haven’t had an “exclusive” sit-down interview with the President lately. I do think it is sad that the Bush administration is so paranoid that they feel the only news outlets that they can trust are the ones owned by Rupert Murdoch (Fox News) and the Rev. Moon (Washington Times). But at the same time the President isn’t going to run all over the country granting exclusive interviews just to soothe some of these overgrown journalistic egos.

It didn’t use to be so hard to get an exclusive interview with Bush - at least before he became president. I’ve done two of them myself - first at the Kerrville Daily Times when Bush was running for governor the first time (not available online); and then at The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal right before Bush announced his intention to run for president. It was clear at the time that Bush was going to run, but unfortunately he wouldn’t give me the scoop and instead made the formal announcement a couple of weeks later. Oh well.

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