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Monday, August 23

First Lady of the Press

Good Interview With Helen Thomas (excerpt):

Q. Why do Bush's press conferences sound so scripted?

A. Bush has a seating chart and he knows who he is going to call on. He picks the people. He's been told to not call on me because I am going to ask a very tough question, such as, Why are we there? Why are we killing people in their own country? How can we? On what basis? I mean, if you want to go after terrorists, good. But Iraq had nothing to do with it.

Q. This President has not had many press conferences. Do you think the Bush administration values the opportunity to talk with the press?

A. Hell, no. He's forced to. It's absolutely necessary because we are there in their face. But he doesn't hold enough news conferences. It's far short of anybody else. And when he appears with a head of state and they try to act like it's a news conference, it's not. He says, "I'll take two questions here and two questions on that side," and there's no follow-up. He gets mad if it is a two-part question. I mean, c'mon. The President of the United States should be able to answer any question, or at least dance around one. At some time – early and often – he should submit to questioning and be held accountable, because if you don't have that then you only have one side of the story. The Presidential news conference is the only forum in our society, the only institution, where a President can be questioned. If a leader is not questioned, he can rule by edict or executive order. He can be a king or a dictator. Who's to challenge him? We're there to pull his chain and to ask the questions that should be asked every day, for every move.

From The 14 characteristics of Fascism:

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

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