"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Monday, May 02, 2005

"That Old Arab," A National Treasure 

One is tempted to say that anyone who earns a vicious, personal slur from The Queen of All Vermin must be doing something right, but that is setting the bar much too low - after all, who hasn't been Slandered [yuk! yuk!] by Time's spindly covergirl?

No, Helen Thomas is in a league of her own. And just in case you forgot how much American journalism lost when "Rev." Moon's UPI let Helen go, check out this interview. Here's a taste:
I think that we should shame Congress for signing on the bottom line but not asking the tough questions they should have asked. They defaulted on the most important privilege they have in the Constitution--the right to declare war. They let the Constitution down. They let the country down. I think everyone who voted to authorize the president to go to war should be pinned down. [John D. Rockefeller IV, of West Virginia] was the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said that if he knew then what he knows now, he would not have voted to go to war. I would go to every congressman, every senator, who voted for the war, and say, "Knowing what you know now, would you still have voted the same way? And if you would, why?" Reporters should put them on the line, and so should their constituents.

Reporters should put presidents on the line as well, and the public should demand that presidents have regular press conferences. During the campaign we should make them say that they will hold regular news conferences every two weeks. Bush hated talking to the press and only did when forced to. He had a seating chart and would pick the journalists he wanted. He was told to not call on me because I would ask a very tough question. He didn't allow any follow-up questions and would get mad if a reporter asked 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 it. Presidents should be obligated --early and often--to submit to questioning and be held accountable. 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?

Don't worry, Helen - Jeff Gannon's on the case.




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