Thursday, May 19, 2005
If Hugh Hewitt Were President
"I'd like you to explain for me what is wrong with the president himself, not his spokesperson, but if the president came down to the press room and said, I think Newsweek ought to get on their knees in front of the American people and beg their forgiveness for causing deaths of innocent people, and injuring our position in the world. What would be wrong with that?" - Hugh Hewitt, May 18, 2005.
Jeff Gannon emailed me today and told me to read this radioblogger transcript of a "heated exchange" between Hugh Hewitt and ABC's Terry Moran.
Hugh was pissed because of a few questions asked by ABC's Terry Moran and The New York Times' Elizabeth Bumiller at Tuesday's White House Press Briefing which I blogged about yesterday.
Terry Moran's question: "With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?"
Elizabeth Bumiller's question: "Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you're saying here?"
Thank youl, Elizabeth Bumiller.
Here are some high/lowlights from the radioblogger "show":
Hugh Hewitt: "We played the tape of your exchange with Scott McClellan yesterday in the White House. Are you anti-military, Terry?"
Terry Moran: "Not at all, no. Not at all."
Terry Moran: "...I was just trying to draw that line, that there may be things which are right for the media to do, but that I think that whether you are liberal or conservative, you don't want the government telling the media to do."
Hugh Hewitt: "Now, Terry, that's just silly. I teach Constitutional law, and I've been a professor doing this for ten years. And when the president's spokesperson suggests something, he's not instructing. He's not commanding. He's using the bully pulpit. And for you to react like he was is silly."
Terry Moran: "And maybe, being a professor, you're teaching the law. I'm living it. I'm living the First Amendment, and let me explain to you that there is a difference between instructing someone to do someone, or telling somebody to do someone, and someone using the bully pulpit to essentially rally the president's political supporters to pressure the media to do something."
Terry Moran: "...And today, the president's spokesman said Newsweek should go on Al Jazeera, and other Arab television networks."
Hugh Hewitt: "Yes, they should. And there's nothing wrong..."
Terry Moran: "As a matter of fact, I agree with you."
Hugh Hewitt: "But there's nothing wrong with the president saying that. I'd like you to explain for me what is wrong with the president himself, not his spokesperson, but if the president came down to the press room and said, I think Newsweek ought to get on their knees in front of the American people and beg their forgiveness for causing deaths of innocent people, and injuring our position in the world. What would be wrong with that?"
Terry Moran: "That, in my judgment, would be demagoguery."
Hugh Hewitt: "Why?"
Terry Moran: "If the president of the United States came before the American people and said that American publication ought to get down on its knees and beg forgiveness, you don't think that's demagoguery, then you've been teaching Constitutional law too long."
Hugh Hewitt: "I've been a broadcaster for fifteen years. I know demagoguery when I hear it. That's not."
Terry Moran: "But you practice it."
Hugh Hewitt: "I do not practice it. I practice good journalism..."
Hugh Hewitt: "Terry, wait. Time out. Where do you get this, don't want any kind of challenge to the president they support. They're just sick and tired of journalists with big heads and little resumes, acting like they know how the world works. Let me read you from Major K..."
Terry Moran: "Hugh, can I ask you a question? When was the last time you were in Iraq?"
Hugh Hewitt: "I have not been to Iraq."
Terry Moran: "There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing it's job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor."
Terry Moran: "I came into the White House feeling that the previous White House Press Corps had...was really a low point for the press, because it resulted in this impeachment which, in my judgment, was, you know, there's plenty of blame to go around there, but we now know that that enormous direction of American civic energy and time was all undertaken while Al Qaeda was incubating its plots. And I've talked to, you know, Clinton national security people who say that after Osama hit the embassies in Africa, and Clinton responded with, perhaps inappropriately and insufficiently responded, but with missile strikes in Sudand and Afghanistan, all the White House Press Corps wanted to talk about was wag the dog. This is really about Monica, isn't it? So I came in thinking that I thought that the scandal du jour attitude of the White House Press Corps, during Clinton, was pretty bad, and needed to be changed."
Hugh Hewitt: "Are there members of the White House Press Corps, Terry, who actually hate Bush?"
Terry Moran: "I would say the answer to that is yes."
Hugh Hewitt: "And what percentage of them, do you think that amounts to?"
Terry Moran: "Uh, small, I would say, but some big fish."
Hugh Hewitt: "Who'd you vote for?"
Terry Moran: "Well, that's a secret ballot, isn't it?"
Hugh Hewitt: "Well, it is. I'm just asking, though."
Terry Moran: "I'd prefer not to answer that."
Hugh Hewitt: "I know you would, but..."
Terry Moran: "It might surprise you, but I'd prefer not to."
Hugh Hewitt: "Do you read the blogs by the way?"
Terry Moran: "Absolutely. Every day, all the time."
Hugh Hewitt: "Which ones?"
Terry Moran: "I always start out at Instapundit, I take a look at LGF, I look at Kos, on the other side, and Joshua Micah Marshall. I'm not a frequenter of your blog, but every once in a while, I'll get linked to it. My brother has a blog, Right Wing Nut House."
Hugh Hewitt: "Oh, I like Right Wing Nut House."
Terry Moran: "That's my brother's blog."
A month-and-a-half ago I wrote "Stop Lying, ABC's Terry Moran Is No Liberal." I think the transcript kind of proves that (after all, all of us liberals always start out at Instapundit)...but...there's no doubt that (excluding BTC Eric Brewer from BTC News) Terry's practically as good as it gets in the White House press briefing room.
(And another thing that Jeff Gannon mentioned in his email to me about the number of Bush-hating White House reporters: "It's not that small and I know who they are, by name." Well...you're a "journalist" Jeff, why don't you let us know who they are.)
(Parenthically speaking of Eric Brewer, for the last week he's been trying to bring up the Downing Street Memo in the press briefings: link. Keep at it, Eric. It's not "so two weeks ago." Not as long as people are still dying.)