Thursday, August 14, 2003

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (1)

I'm shocked, shocked at this difference in interpretation!!

The New York Times, in a small sidebar on the California election, reports that President Bush is not taking the loss of media attention well:

President Bush is used to being America's most important politician and the center of attention wherever he goes. So today, when a reporter told Mr. Bush that the California governor's race was "the biggest political story in the country," the president got cranky.

"Oh, I think there's maybe other political stories," Mr. Bush said at his ranch here. "Isn't there, like, a presidential race coming up?" He added that calling the California race the biggest story "speaks volumes, if you know what I mean."

The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, has a slightly different interpretation of his comments:

Even President Bush, who holds a vested interest in finding out which Democrat will win the nomination and ultimately challenge him, admitted Wednesday that he was more captivated by the California story, which he called "a fascinating bit of political drama."

"Isn't there, like, a presidential race coming up?" Bush said, joking with reporters at his ranch in Texas. "Maybe that says something, you know, speaks volumes, if you know what I mean."

This is a minor story, and maybe the Times reporters had their tongues in their cheeks. Still, the differences in the framing of the same quote are pretty revealing.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Tom Maguire, here's the relevant section of the White House transcript:

Q It's also the biggest political story in the country. Is it hard to go in there and say nothing about it?

THE PRESIDENT: It is the biggest political story in the country? That's interesting. That says a lot. That speaks volumes.

Q You don't agree?

THE PRESIDENT: It's up to -- I don't get to decide the biggest political story. You decide the biggest political story. But I find it interesting that that is the biggest political story in the country, as you just said.

Q You don't think it should be?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think there's maybe other political stories. Isn't there, like, a presidential race coming up? (Laughter.) Maybe that says something. It speaks volumes, if you know what I mean. But, yes, it's an interesting story, it really is. And I'm looking forward, like you are, to seeing the outcome of the interesting story.

But, no, I'm going to go, I'm going to talk about -- now that you've asked, are you going on the trip?

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, you'll see me speak to Marines and their families, thanking them for their service to our country, reminding them that what's taking place in Iraq is essential to U.S. security. Then I'm going to go to a national park, talking about the fact that we believe parks ought to be revitalized, and talk about the initiatives that I've laid out to do that. And then, of course, I'll be doing a little spade work for the '04 campaign. (Laughter.) One of the most important political -- (laughter.)

posted by Dan on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM


...and the left claims its not the journalists spinning the news but rather the advertisers and owners!

posted by: Michael Van Winkle on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

The true wonderment is: Where's the news in either article? Journalism has been reduced to simpering reporters following politicians around, waiting for them to offer up bits of folksy entertainment. Go write for Soap Opera Daily for pity's sake.

posted by: chris on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

Don't you think you might want to view the video before you question either of these interpretations. It is possible they both are correct. What exactly do you think they reveal? The hunt for bias in every nuance a reporter may report may be getting a little out of control. If you saw the press conference I believe you will see the President at best was a tad impatient with standing there taking question from the press...his whole body language (often answering questions even before the reporters were completed) was pretty revealing. Are reporters bias...sure they are...bias runs rampant in all of us....we are wired that way. However there seems to be a desires on the part of some to make more of the bias than is really there. I think this is one of those times.

posted by: DC on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

I have not seen the video, but here is a transcript.

All those bits where the transcript says "laughter" are, of course, ambiguous. Nervous laughter, as awed reporters gather in the presence of the leader of the free world?

Beats me.

posted by: Tom Maguire on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

Yea, this seems like a distinction without a difference. Or at least bias best measured with a micrometer scale instead of kilometer scale.

posted by: John on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

I saw the video, and it did not ever occur to me that GWB was "cranky". He smiled the whole time, and seemed to be joking.

posted by: Dylan on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

I agree with Dylan. I also so the video, and the word "cranky" is nowhere near a proper description of his attitude. There was a very joking atmosphere around the comments, and to take it out of that context is bias.

This seems to be a clear example of not only bad reporting, because really who cares, and unobjective writing.

posted by: Austin Barrow on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

If I had to answer some of the STOOOOPID questions asked by reporters, I'd be way beyond cranky.

posted by: Owain on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

Anybody know where to find the video online?

I originally heard of the story on, and thought it didn't sound like Bush and he was most likely joking with reporters as he often does. So I googled the quote and found out that there were different interpretations of the same thing.. no surprise here.

posted by: Steve on 08.14.03 at 10:28 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?