Friday, July 11, 2008

From the vaults: Bush meets an actual journalist in 2004, comes up short

Huffington Post and Crooks and Liars have rediscovered the 2004 story of Irish journalist Carole Coleman learning, the hard way, that Bush the Sun King must not be treated like other political figures. Not surprisingly, the interview was never broadcast on American television.

p3 had the story almost three years ago, although I've had to update some of the links.

One of the things about the interview that struck me at the time was not simply the bullying arrogance that Bush displayed, but that the interview made clear just how little actual brainpower was lighting up his remarks. Bush complained that Coleman interrupted his answers, but his answers so resembled memorized sentences strung together like beads on a wire that it really is difficult to tell when an answer is finished. They didn't go anywhere, so there was no way to tell when Bush thought he'd gotten somewhere.

Should the interview (and Coleman's book, in which the story is retold) be required on every journalism school syllabus, as C&L suggests? It couldn't hurt, although at best that might only help solve the problem ten or fifteen years down the road. It won't address the more urgent problem that the Washington press corps we have right now has for years been unwilling or afraid to do their job and ask the hard questions, Coleman-style.

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