The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

McClellan briefing: the limits of press bravery

In Henry V, the inferiority of the French in the field of battle is demonstrated not by their tactical failure in the face of English longbowmen but by their attacking the undefended English camp (4.7.1ff):
Kill the poys and the luggage! ’tis expressly against the law of arms: ’tis as arrant a piece of knavery, mark you now, as can be offer’t...

The regiment of powder-puffs otherwise known as the White House Press Corps [1], after grooming and preening the Administration for four and a half years, and catering to its every need, however gross, has been stamping its feet and flouncing.

Around Scott McClellan.

A mood of something approaching euphoria seems to have arisen in lefty circles. The fact (Romenesko links) that the sad sack was pummelled mercilessly for a whole thirty minutes (bar some relief on other topics - more Jeff Gannons?) is supposedly Agincourt and Waterloo and Gettysburg all rolled into one.

How about this from one of the plumed knights of the press:
it is now clear that 21 months ago, you were up at this podium saying something that we now know to be demonstratively false.

Does McClellan care? He's just doing his job: why should he?

The same questioner goes on
Now, are you concerned that in not setting the record straight today that this could undermine the credibility of the other things you say from the podium?

Rimshot, Professor, please!

On second thoughts, I suspect our intrepid hack may not have been joking.

The $64,000 question for the questioners: after a real badass mauling for the monkey, when will they start with the organ-grinder?

It's hard to forget the George Bush press conference of March 6 2003 (March 13 2003) - on the brink of war, when American journalism, if it existed, would surely have been deployed with vigour.

Whereas, in fact, the softballs were Angelsoft and Bush joked about the presser being scripted. If that was a joke...

When one of the Press Corps milquetoasts confronts Bush about
saying something that we now know to be demonstratively false
- that will be reason for rejoicing.

I'm not holding my breath.

  1. Why the military term? The Corps of Commissionaires, I can understand: those gentlemen were servicemen in earlier manifestations.

    Perhaps the derivation is corps de ballet...


Dana Milbank is in playful mood at McClellan's expense [1]. He puts names to the questioners who, in the official transcript, remain - oh, delicious irony, anonymous!

I haven't, strange to say, noticed any bleating from lefty bloggers about Milbank's latest piece being unfair or bad journalism.

Which, considering the racket made over Milbank's piece on the John Conyers DIY hearing on the Downing Street Memo (June 23), may hint at a double-standard.

Partisan beasts!

  1. The copy editor follows suit with the hed Spokesman Holds Tongue During Intense Grilling.

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