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Little White Lies the Press Tells
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Here's coverage of yesterday's "press conference" (in quotes because a grand total of five questions were involved) by George Bush from Knight-Ridder's Ron Hutcheson:
"By Thursday, President Bush could no longer ignore the grieving, angry mother from Northern California camped outside his ranch.
"'I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan,' Bush told reporters Thursday after more than a week of intense media focus on his uninvited visitor."
The clear implication is that Bush had spontaneously made this remark to reporters, and that he had made some kind of conscious decision to "no longer ignore" Cindy Sheehan. But that's nonsense. In the 859-word cliche-ridden speech delivered by Bush that precedes the questioning, Cindy Sheehan doesn't come up at all. It's only after, in response to a question about troop withdrawals, that Bush says, "I also have heard the voices of those saying, pull out now, and I've thought about their cry, and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out," and, following that, that a reporter follows up by asking, "Just to make clear, you're referring to Mrs. Sheehan here, I think?" And even then, Bush pointedly doesn't answer "yes", but instead replies "I'm referring to any grieving mother or father, no matter what their political views may be." And only then does he finally get around to "no longer ignoring the grieving, angry mother" and express his (phony) sympathy with Sheehan.
The casual reader of Hutcheson's article, though, won't have a clue about any of this, but will be under the impression that the "compassionate conservative" Bush decided by himself to utter these words of sympathy. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the transcript shows.
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