28 February 2008

Vaudeville Comedy in the White House Press Briefing Room

In his column yesterday, Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post provided a link to the transcript of a press briefing at the White House that can only be described as surreal. The briefing is purported to be presented by two "Senior Administration Officials".

My guess is that this briefing was brought about because of the the difficulty announced by CNN's John King that, because he has been busy following the Presidential campaign, when it comes to FISA, "this is highly detailed stuff that's pretty hard to follow". The briefing begins:

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I appreciate you taking the time to discuss this issue with you. I just want to give a very brief overview. I know this is a very complex subject and a lot of discussion out there, and it's hard sometimes to follow it.
The "officials", at the prompting of the "press" who pose the questions, then proceed to parrot the Administration talking points that have been thoroughly debunked elsewhere.

Once the spewing is complete, the "press", who have been asking such difficult questions, then get into the spirit of the true purpose of the meeting:

Q How did you get to full compliance, by telling them they were home-free?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It was a back-and-forth engagement with the general counsels' offices, so that they got to the point where, as the announcement says, they were willing to comply with our requests, but there's no guarantee they'd continue to do so.

Q We'll cover your ass. (Laughter.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Help us protect our security.

END 3:35 P.M. EST
Cue the Vaudeville music. I realize this was meant as a joke, but it really highlights just what has gone on in the entire "discussion" that has taken place with FISA. The administration has broken the law, the press found out about it, sat on the story through the 2004 election and then has "covered their ass" for them because the administration has convinced the press that this will "protect our security".

Absolutely disgusting.


selise said...

amazing, jim. i ought to learn not to be shocked anymore, but it's so fucking blatent - what's still shocking is that they ever get away with it.

Jim White said...

Thanks, selise. Parody of these folks really is impossible.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried to read your blog? It's impossible with that background and the font colors. If you could change it, I'd like to know what you said.

Anonymous said...

I interpreted the transcript differently. I didn't see it as the press (the person asking the "Q") offering to cover the administration's ass. Rather, the questioner was suggesting (in paraphrase) what the administration must have been saying to the telecom companies in order to secure their continued cooperation.

In fact, I thought the press questions in the transcript were some of the most direct, critical and well-informed inquiries that have been put to the administration lately, especially when compared to softball "interviews" like John King's sit-down with McConnell.

This isn't to say that the press hasn't been giving the administration a free pass on the surveillance issue by and large -- the press has been lax in stressing the importance of the issue and expressing skepticism over the administration's motives, for sure.

Jim White said...

Anonymous @12:14
I think your interpretation that the press person was summarizing the administration position of covering the telecom companies probably is correct. Thanks for pointing that out.
The other questions posed may well have been good, but the answers were still strikingly deficient and have been thoroughly debunked in the links I provide.