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Ex Post Facto

Although it hasn't actually printed any serious reporting on the Downing Street Minutes, the Washington Post has now taken to criticising other media outlets' lack of coverage. Does that mean there WILL BE coverage coming from the Washington We-Found-Deep-Throat Post?

The Foxnewsified Bush Interview

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Thursday, June 9, 2005; 1:24 PM

Thanks to Fox News's exclusive interview with President Bush yesterday, the leader of the free world is now on the record when it comes to John Kerry's Yale grades, Laura Bush's presidential aspirations and -- yes -- the Michael Jackson trial's effect on public policy discourse.

Who wants to talk about that messy war in Iraq, or the Downing Street Memo? Not Neil Cavuto, Fox News executive, anchor, commentator and Bush campaign contributor.

Bush did make a bit of news by refusing to rule out the closure of the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But even fellow Fox News anchor John Gibson marveled at Cavuto's line of questioning when Cavuto came on his show later.

Gibson: "So, Neil, I got to ask, how did Michael Jackson come up?"

Cavuto: "Well, I have got to be honest. I brought it up."

Gibson: "Yes."

Cavuto: "I have a theory on this, John. A lot of people think I'm crazy.

"But the president's [Social Security] push, soon as he began his second term, times almost to the week with the approach of the Michael Jackson trial. And I have a view -- and it could be crazy -- and the president readily admitted maybe it was -- that this fixation on the Michael Jackson trial, even in your show right now, takes away from the attention that maybe the president wanted afforded his program on Social Security."

Later, Gibson had this to say: "Now, Neil, nobody can talk to the president very long without bringing up the war."

Cavuto: "Right..."

And yet, somehow the topic never came up. Not a single question, even though according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Americans consider the war in Iraq Bush's number two priority, right after the economy and jobs.

To his credit, Cavuto did ask about the number one priority. He put his question this way "Do you think you get a bum rap in the media on the economy?"

Downing Street Memo Watch

On CNN, Jeff Greenfield reflected on the Downing Stret Memo and the coverage it finally got yesterday. (See yesterday's column.)

Richard Wolffe, Newsweek's White House correspondent, tells him: "I think there's a certain amount of Iraq fatigue, at least among the media, which is hard to kind of fathom in some way."

Greenfield himself concludes: "The real power of this memo, then, is its potential to reinforce beliefs that flow from current events. The more worried Americans are about the present, the more pessimistic they become about the future, the more likely they are to have doubts about what really happened in the past."

Salon media critic Eric Boehlert writes: "In an age of instant communications, the American mainstream media has taken an exceedingly long time -- as if news of the memo had traveled by vessel across the Atlantic Ocean -- to report on the leaked document. Nor has it considered its grave implications -- namely, that President Bush lied to the American people and Congress during the run-up to the war with Iraq when he insisted over and over again that war was his administration's last option."

Paul Koring writes in Toronto's Globe and Mail: "A leaked memo that failed to hurt British Prime Minister Tony Blair may yet do some damage to U.S. President George W. Bush -- but not if the U.S. news media continue to ignore it, as they did for weeks."


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