In a press roundtable at the National Press Club tonight, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow led a discussion with White House correspondents about the impact of the internet on their respective jobs. Their conclusion? They don’t like being challenged by blogs.
NBC News’ David Gregory bemoaned how political coverage has “become so polarized in this country…because it’s the internet and the blogs that have really used this White House press conferences to somehow support positions out in America, political views.” Tony Snow admitted he sometimes reads blogs (“I’ll occasionally punch it up”) only to find “wonderful, imaginative hateful stuff that comes flying out.”
Newsweek’s White House correspondent Richard Wolffe added, “[Bloggers] want us to play a role that isn’t really our role. Our role is to ask questions and get information. … It’s not a chance for the opposition to take on the government and grill them to a point where they throw their hands up and surrender.”
Transcript: Read more
As in this article($) in today’s Wall Street Journal, which tells the story of a husband and wife who found the perfect private school for their high schools daughters, a tony prep school near Boston. Unfortunately, they lived in Los Angeles. So, naturally, the husband quit his job, they sold their house, and they moved to small apartment in Boston. It took him three months to find a new job, so they had to run through most of their savings and the money they made on the home sale in order to live and pay the $56,000 school tuition. Their furniture is still in L.A., because they can’t afford to move it, and the wife, who used to stay home, is now looking for work. But it was all worth it, because their daughters are learning Greek.
“I hope it was at least Winsor,” I thought, before clicking the link to see that it was, indeed, Winsor, a piece of information that fortunately was available in the free preview section. Since I haven’t read the whole thing, I don’t know what was wrong with LA’s own tony prep schools (I believe Harvard-Westlake is the one to go to), but it seems clear to me that if you live in California and want to send your kids to school in New England the thing to do is take advantage of the area’s many fine boarding schools. Are there no Grotons? What price Milton?
“The White House defended Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday from criticism from Republican Sen. John McCain that he was one of the worst U.S. defense secretaries ever for his handling of the Iraq war. … The White House backed Rumsfeld but was careful not to criticize McCain in doing so.”
The Washington Post writes today “Cheney’s Influence Lessening in Second Term,” arguing that the most powerful vice president in history has been pushed aside. As Cheney left for a one-week diplomatic trip to Asia this week, the Los Angeles Times questioned whether Cheney’s excursion was in fact an “excuse to high-tail it of town,” as “the past few weeks have not been kind to the vice president — or at least to his public image.”
Throughout Bush’s second term, the media has frequently speculated that Cheney, who tends to minimize public appearances, has lost his grip on the White House. Some examples:
Los Angeles Times:
“Events…have prompted speculation that the once-formidable vice president — the most powerful in American history — has become a spent force.” [2/17/07]
McClatchy Washington Bureau:
“[The North Korea nuclear deal] also reflects a changed power balance within the Bush administration with…Vice President Dick Cheney’s influence diminished, at least on this issue and for now.” [2/13/07]
International Herald Tribune:
“Recent events seem a stunning setback for the vice president” [11/20/06]
BBC reports: “Tony Blair is expected to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq. The prime minister is due to make an announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday in which he is expected clarify the details. Mr Blair is expected to say hundreds of troops will return from Basra within weeks with more to follow later. Some 7,000 UK troops are currently serving in Iraq and about 1,500 are expected to return within weeks.”
“Seizing on an investigative report by The Washington Post’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull, Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) will introduce legislation next week to require more frequent inspections of hospitals providing treatment to active-duty military personnel.” Meanwhile, Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Patty Murray (D-WA) “wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates today demanding an inspector general’s investigation into living conditions for the returning soldiers at Walter Reed.”
UPDATE: Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, demanding answers on Walter Reed.
IDEX-2007, touted as the world’s largest military defense exhibition, began yesterday in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The conference — which brings together “key decision-makers from across the world, defense ministers, chiefs of staff and senior officers from army, navy and air force to network” with defense contractors — is attracting a great deal of attention from Persian Gulf states.
The recently-released National Intelligence Estimate assessed that increasing violence and unrest in Iraq “have heightened fears of regional instability and unrest and contributed to a growing polarization between Iran and Syria on the one hand and other Middle East governments on the other.” And Iraq’s neighbors are equipping themselves for potential battle. The AP reports:
Deep fears about the war in Iraq and growing tension between the United States and Iran are driving the wealthy oil states of the Persian Gulf to go on shopping sprees for helicopters, ships and tanks, officials say. …
Helicopters and electronic warning sensors are expected to be hot sellers. For example, seaborne early warning radar can can detect rogue vessels approaching ports or oil terminals. …
In particular, the Saudi military is looking for air defenses and helicopters and perhaps naval frigates. … The Emirates’ shopping list includes ship-to-ship missiles.
States in the Gulf region which have invested little in “rearming” in the “last 15 years,” are now eager to see what others are buying and how they might “defeat those capabilities.” As one analyst said, “The shopping lists are directly correlated to the threat perception.”
Defense contractors attending the summit — including Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing — are more than happy to oblige the Arab nations’ demands. The Gulf states’ “weapons buying binge” is expected to rake in sales that will “soar past” the $2 billion in contracts offered at IDEX in 2005. According to U.S. Ambassador to the UAE, Michele Sisson, U.S. companies are expected to “clinch” a significant portion of the profits.
reveals that he didn’t know — and didn’t care — if the Pelosi plane story was true. Putnam claimed he pushed the story because it was the first break “from the media in driving our message.” A message which happened to be completely false.
Realistically, I imagine I’ll end up backing Barack Obama or John Edwards for president since you need to lend your support to someone who might win, but today’s column wonders why Bill Richardson can’t get no respect.