Thursday, February 23, 2006


ich finde pressekonferenzen faszinierend. besonders lustig fand ich früher die von rumsfeld, kurz vor, bzw während dem feldzug gegen afghanistan. dieses hin-und her von fragen und unantworten: rededuelle auf höchstem niveau ohne inhalt. lustig fand ich auch ari fleischer. eine kurze weile habe ich sogar mit dem gedanken gespielt, einmal pressesprecher zu werden, bis mich das abweisen von fragen und dem ausweichen von antworten mit ekel erfüllt hat.

auf salon schreibt cintra wilson über ihre erfahrungen im James S. Brady Press Briefing Room während der erhüllungen um karl rove und seine verwicklungen in plamegate und der darauf folgenden schnellen nominierung von john roberts für einen sitz im supreme court.

July 11, the Day the Press Corps Attacked, was just the kickoff. I spent the next two weeks in the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, witnessing the molten Rove-a-thon. By the end I felt like I'd spent a couple of weeks on one of those indoor thrill rides where seats are bolted to a moving floor while a film is shown, creating a vague sensation of G-force when nothing actually goes anywhere. Still, the mini-revolt offered hope that despite its previously persistent vegetative state, the press might not be entirely dead yet. For the first time since 9/11, the reporters got nakedly hostile and went for the throat. Pandora's box opened -- just a hairline crack, but enough bats flew out to suggest that it might not close all the way again.

In the last few years, the press has lost all sense of its own mojo. Things bottomed out after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, when any aggressive grilling of the administration branded reporters as unpatriotic, which potentially alienated their audiences. The high emotion surrounding 9/11 and the War on Terror (or the new, improved Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, which the Beltway kids snarkily refer to as G-SAVE) have made them very useful hostage babies for the administration cowboys to shield themselves with during shootouts with the press. Somehow, aggressive questioning of the White House got spun as a heretical insult to slaughtered American innocents. It was so demoralizing that after a while the press succumbed en masse to what I call the Potomac dinge: passive cooperation in one's own degradation -- the deranged, unconscious complicity that is found in victims of ritual abuse.

"This is the most complacent and complicit media I've ever seen," Helen Thomas, the most senior member of the White House press corps, told me in an interview at her office at Hearst.

The Rove affair, however, and the artless info-block by Scott McClellan that followed, was one twist too many in the press corps' shorts. The long-simmering scandal about the leaking of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of Bush critic Joe Wilson, became a full-on plumbing emergency when it was revealed that the black stuff all over the faucet was the fingerprints of Karl Rove, President Bush's right-hand man, realpolitik guru and pet genius. Despite White House denials of any administrative vendetta, Washington smelled Rove's funk in the air. The stakes were raised by the president's assertion that anyone found to be involved in the Plame leak would be fired. When the humble folk of Press Town got word that Rove was, indeed, involved in the outing of Wilson's wife, they finally got morally indignant enough to go after McClellan and his boss lynch-mob style, with rolling pins and pitchforks. (

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