Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003  

While I'm thumbing through the Post (so to speak), I'm noticing a meme. Listen:

BIRMINGHAM, Nov. 3 -- President Bush on Monday blamed the ongoing guerrilla attacks in Iraq on terrorists trying to intimidate the United States, and he vowed to "never run" from the mounting chaos and casualties.

Bush gave two speeches in Alabama and made no specific reference to the helicopter downing on Sunday that killed 16 soldiers, the single deadliest attack against U.S. troops in Iraq. A senior aide said the president kept his remarks broad to "reflect reality without getting bogged down in one day's headlines."

...In a second speech, to a reception that raised $1.85 million for his reelection campaign, Bush said "Saddam holdouts and foreign terrorists" -- "a collection of killers," he called them -- were using attacks to try to throw Iraq into chaos. "We will not be intimidated," he said.

Kurtz picks up the meme and runs.

When the Bushies say they want the bad news put in perspective, do they really mean they don't want it reported at all?

I ask this because of a piece out of Baghdad by veteran New York Times foreign correspondent Raymond Bonner. He reflects the anger that some U.S. officials are feeling toward the Fourth Estate, but also cites instances in which they try to suppress, downplay or minimize bad news.

In other words, even as the president complains about the "filter" of the national media, his team in Iraq seems to be doing some filtering of its own.

And then there's Broder, who kicked it off a couple days ago.

The single most striking impression from watching Bush in his session with White House reporters was the president's defensiveness. Barely two weeks ago, the White House set out to "correct" the negative cast it said the Washington press corps had placed on Iraq with a series of upbeat statements from Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top officials.

That effort was cut short by the leak of a memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld questioning how much progress was really being made in the war on terrorism and describing prospects in Iraq as "a long, hard slog." The White House offensive was further overwhelmed by the news bulletins that produced the Tuesday headline in USA Today, "Violence in Iraq reaches new level."

You don't think the Post is a little irritated about that "filter" comment, do you?

posted by Jeff | 9:38 AM |
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