Oh, and Have You Heard from Ari and Scottie?
06.15.2006 12:27 | DISPATCHES
Such nice boys. This gem bubbled up on Google news from the blog of Contra Costa Times (California) editor Chris Lopez. He's addressing the bonhomie surrounding the incident in which President Bush apologized for teasing Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten about wearing sunglasses indoors at his press conference. Bush wasn't aware Wallsten suffers from a form of macular degeneration that causes sensitivity to glare anywhere.
"What gets lost to the general public in the day-to-day spin of politics is that the President and the reporters who cover him have a healthy working relationship. . . . Elected officials know they need journalists to get their message out, and journalists know they need elected officials to have things to write about. [They] learn to create working relationships based on respect and an understanding that everyone has a job to do [and] both groups are often criticized, second-guessed, and at times vilified. But public officials and journalists learn to grow thick skin because if you don't, you won't survive."
Either a Boy Scout or a shill for the right, he seems ignorant, despite how well-documented it is, of how the administration plays the press by denying it accessibility unless it serves as a mouthpiece. As for the "working relationships based on respect," he obviously missed the daily gaggles in which the likes of David Gregory and Helen Thomas rake Scott McClellan and Tony Snow over the coals while the latter try to dance out of the line of fire.
Finally, what White House official has thick skin? These days Bush, Cheney, and Rove keep stumbling over the obstacles they put in each other's paths. But all three of them are characterized by the vindictiveness with which they respond to slights.
Meanwhile, Wallsten, according to an Associated Press article reproduced on Lopez's blog, was gracious about the incident. But it's doubtful he views the White House press room as felicitously as Lopez or buys into his vision of its collegiality. The AP article continues:
Of course Bush stonewalled him.
"Wallsten, who is also author of a book coming out next month titled "One Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century," had asked about White House credibility now in the aftermath of top aide Karl Rove having been cleared in the CIA leak investigation."