Saturday, July 03, 2004

Video of Bush's difficult interview with Irish Television News Babe

Alternet provides the following juicy streaming video link (courtesy the Irish Public Television Website) of an interview that made Bush look rather bad. (Alternet doesn't give one important detail: the interesting 15-minute interview starts 20 minutes into the hour-long streaming video clip, so move the slider about 1/3 way after the clip begins to play.)

As Alternet hints, U.S. White House reporters would lose their press credentials for conducting an interview like this, although it is perfectly within the more aggressive norms of European journalism. As anyone that has watched the BBC world news, BBC journalists will aggressively interrupt and redirect with a follow-up question if they feel their subject is drifting off-topic, is evading the question, or has just made a hard-to-believe statement. U.S. journalists tend to be less aggressive.

The Bush administration retaliated against Irish Public Television by canceling a scheduled interview with Laura Bush, saying the reporter was "rude", although, by European standards, she really wasn't.

The Irish News Babe in this clip makes Bush look very bad. When Bush doesn't like the direction she is taking a question, he starts to answer the question. When she tries to finish the question, he lectures her, "don't interrupt. Let me finish. You'll have a chance to talk in just a moment."

Accusing the reporter of interrupting becomes a frequent tactic, although some cases she is merely trying to complete a question she was not allowed to finish. In others, she attempts to redirect when Bush avoids a particular question, again with a stern lecture from Bush not to interrupt.

Most notably, when Bush asserts that the world is safer because he removed Saddam Hussein, the reporter states what many in Europe believe: "surely you must realize it is not," and begins to cite statistics of increasing terrorist in Iraq and around the world (in agreement with the State Department's own revised figures), which she attributes directly to Bush's recent actions (a common European view, in agreement with prominent think-tanks like the British IISS and some in the U.S.). Bush's uses his usual tactic of accusing the reporter of interrupting him. "Let me finish, let me finish" he insists, and rambles on about how he has made the world safer.

The Irish world news anchor in Washington D.C. then finishes by concluding that there has not been such a fiery exchange with an Irish public television reporter since Ronald Reagan.