White House calls BS on NBC
May 20, 08, 6:24 pm
Filed under: bush, george bush, Iraq, politics, war | Tags: , , , , ,

George Bush pointing finger

It’s always nice to see the spotlight turned back on the MSM. It seems that NBC is now being called out by the White House for it’s biased reporting on the Iraq war.

The White House is calling on NBC News to declare whether the network still believes Iraq is mired in a “civil war,” escalating a fight that began when NBC aired an interview with President Bush that the White House called the product of “deceitful editing.”

The network rattled the White House in November 2006 when it called the conflict in Iraq a “civil war.” On Monday, White House Counselor Ed Gillespie wrote a letter to NBC News President Steve Capus, looking in part for an explanation of how NBC News now views the war.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday the administration is “fed up” with the way NBC News is treating the Iraq war.

“I remember very distinctly, how there was a quite the pomp and circumstance when NBC, on The Today Show, decided to declare that they were declaring Iraq was a civil war. But since then, after the surge and things certainly have improved in Iraq, NBC has never had a corresponding ceremony to say that Iraq is not in a civil war. We’re just curious to find out what they believe,” she said.

Hmmmm… we haven’t heard much out of them on the topic lately, have we? Wonder why that is? As for the letter itself:

Gillespie noted in his letter that “around September of 2007, your network quietly stopped referring to conditions in Iraq as a ‘civil war.’”

In two statements Monday, he asked for clarification.

“Is it still NBC News’s carefully deliberated opinion that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war?” he asked in the letter to Capus. “If not, will the network publicly declare that the civil war has ended, or that it was wrong to declare it in the first place?”

In a brief statement later, he said, “We … look forward to hearing their response to our additional concerns about their labeling Iraq as a ‘civil war.’”

So far, NBC News has not responded.

You don’t say? Funny how chatty NBC and the rest of the MSM has been the past few years when bringing us a daily tabulation of soldier deaths in Iraq. Or when telling us of bombs going off in Iraqi supermarkets. Or when airing gloomy prognostications of “experts” who carelessly throw about terms like quagmire or civil-war. Yet when things start to improve… dramatically improve… silence.

The topic then turns to a recent NBC interview with President Bush:

Gillespie initially challenged NBC News about the interview with Bush, during which correspondent Richard Engel asked whether the president’s comments in Israel about the “appeasement” of rogue nations were directed at Barack Obama. The interview aired Sunday night on “Nightly News” and Monday morning on “Today.”

Gillespie, in the same letter to Capus, blasted NBC for the interview, saying that a critical portion of the interview had been edited out, and “this deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible.” He asked that the network air Bush’s response in full on the two programs.

NBC countered that no effort was made to be deceptive and called Gillespie’s criticism a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

And who better to recognize gross misrepresentation of facts than the masters themselves. So what was the segment in question?

In the interview, Engel asked Bush if he was referring to Obama in his speech.

As it appeared on “Nightly News” Sunday and “Today” Monday, Bush’s response was: “You know, my policies haven’t changed, but evidently the political calendar has … And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you’ve got to take those words seriously.”

The White House said NBC edited out the following words that Bush said between those two sentences:

“People need to read the speech. You didn’t get it exactly right, either. What I said was that we need to take the words of people seriously.”

And that was Bush’s point. He was focusing on the words of Iran’s leaders — not on the words of Barack Obama. He was saying that unlike that US senator from WWII, we can’t afford to take murderous threats from rogue regimes lightly. He was addressing idealistic bed-wetters everywhere when he warned against appeasement. Bush has done this several times before — we just never heard about it until Obama decided to make it a campaign issue (BTW, thanks again, Barack).

Another beef with NBC was also addressed.

On Tuesday, the White House also asked NBC News to explain why it “disavowed” government data that showed the economy is not in a recession.

Because it doesn’t fit into NBC’s template, that’s why. The White House already knows all of this, or course. They have just decided not to let NBC get away with it this time. Personally, I think the Bush administration should have long ago taken a page out of Slick Willie’s book and started making celebratory announcements every time economic data came out in their favor. Maybe they think that’s beneath them but it’s just plain good marketing. You can’t depend on the press to promote good news. That’s not their commodity. Especially when that news casts a favorable light on a Republican president.

Kudos to the Bush Administration for finally giving NBC a couple of well-deserved kicks to the groin.

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