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David Swanson: Bush, Blair, and Bumiller

Bush, Blair, and Bumiller


By David Swanson
www.afterdowningstreet.org

The corporate media today began its coverage of the Downing Street Minutes, moved to do so by a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Tony Blair, and by the pressure all of us have applied.

And, while most newspapers simply reported what Bush and Blair said, the USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, Columbus Dispatch, and Salon called www.AfterDowningStreet.org for comments. The articles are posted and linked to on our site.

And the Washington Post provided a lengthy and quite interesting chat on its website with staff writer Jefferson Morley, also available via www.afterdowningstreet.org.

But the Post's Dana Milbank declared the story over, having apparently mistaken a starting pistol for a fatal shot.

Here's how to politely tell him he's mistaken:

milbankd@washpost.com

Here's what he wrote: LINK

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller published the following piece of stenography: LINK

This puts into new light Bumiller's famous comment that "You can't just say the president is lying. You don't just say that...."

Bumiller: That's why it's very hard to write those, because you can't say George Bush is wrong here. There's no way you can say that in the New York Times. So we contort ourselves up and say, "Actually"- I actually once wrote this sentence: "Mr. Bush's statement did not exactly . . . " It was some completely upside down statement that was basically saying he wasn't telling the truth. And I got an email from somebody saying, "What's wrong with you guys? Why can't you just say it plainly?" But there's just-

Loren Ghiglione (Medill School of Journalism, Moderator): Why can't you say it plainly?

Bumiller: You can't just say the president is lying. You don't just say that in the . . . you just say-

Ghiglione: Well, why can't you?

[laughter from the audience]

Bumiller: You can in an editorial, but I'm sorry, you can't in a news column. Mr. Bush is lying? You can say Mr. Bush is, you can say. . . .

[Murmuring and laughter continue from audience.]

Bumiller [to audience]: And stop the fussing! You can say Mr. Bush's statement was not factually accurate. You can't say the president is lying-that's a judgment call.

- From a panel broadcast on C-Span: LINK

How to politely ask Bumiller to report the truth even if it requires analyzing facts and making judgments:

bumiller@nytimes.com


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