December has just begun, there has been enough good news about
the Bush administration to wonder if Christmas is coming early
this year. Unemployment, the one economic indicator that many
in the media and on the left have been clinging to as a symbol
of failed Bush policies, is going down and is now below six
percent. Productivity has risen dramatically, and the Dow is
poised to break 10,000 once again. To top this off, the president
made a surprise trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day to share
words or encouragement and provide a morale boost that only
the commander-in-chief can provide. Yet, despite all the good
news, the White House press corps still seeks to find the cloud
in every silver lining or the lemon used to make the lemonade.
Case in point is the White House press corps'
reaction to Bush's trip to Baghdad. As a publisher and editor
of news and commentary, I have received countless e-mails from
Americans across the country who expressed their pride in and
approval of the president's actions. A woman in Texas wrote,
"I have never been as proud of President Bush, and to be
an American, as when I saw the picture on TV of our president
stepping out from behind that curtain to visit our troops in
Iraq on Thanksgiving Day. This was one of the highlights of
President Bush's presidency in my eyes."
Another man wrote, "I think it is a great
president that puts his life
at risk to see our troops on Thanksgiving. We are a military
family, and we know what it means to be there.
Those are just a few examples of the scores
of positive responses that streamed in following the president's
trip. The reaction was
overwhelmingly positive. Even the Democrats were somewhat muted
in their response, throwing out token criticism to an audience
who was not listening. However, the White House press corps
apparently does not share the same feelings about the trip as
the majority of mainstream Americans.
During White House press briefings this week,
the media representatives bombarded the press secretary with
questions about the visit to Baghdad. While Air Force One was
in the air, an aircraft in British airspace saw the president's
ship and asked British air traffic control if it was Air Force
One. This aircraft was first identified to the media as a British
Airways commercial airliner, but it was later determined that
it was a non-U.K. aircraft.
Because of the "serious" error of
misidentifying the aircraft to the
media, the questions were asked, "Why then did the White
repeatedly, in two different versions, tell reporters that it
British Airways? How could the White House be so wrong?"
Despite the explanation by White House Press
Secretary Scott McClellan, the follow-up question was "Do
you think, though, that this third revision of this story now,
takes some of the shine off the President's surprise visit to
Takes some shine off the trip? President Bush
surprises the troops and the American public with a visit to
Baghdad, and the trip is supposed to be diminished because an
aircraft that saw Air Force One was mislabeled? Are they serious?
Further questioning addressed the fact that
the flight plan filed for
the trip to Baghdad listed Air Force One (a Boeing 747) as a
Gulfstream V. Despite the obvious need for secrecy in a trip
such as this to a highly volatile area of the world, a reporter
wanted to discuss "the legalities of filing a fraudulent
McClellan said that the American people "understand
arrangements that are made in a circumstance like this,"
and he is
right. For security concerns, one would expect the flight plan
Air Force One as anything but Air Force One.
Unsatisfied with McClellan's response, the
follow-up question was "So the White House has no compunctions
about having misled the American people on this trip?"
Is this for real? Does this mean that every
secret mission should be
viewed as misleading the American public? That's a lot of "misleading,"
and if it weren't done, there would be no covert operations
at all. Just imagine the security situation we'd find ourselves
The reporter, still unsatisfied, asked, "I'm
talking about having misled the public in thinking the President
was at the ranch. In other words, that there's a level of trust
that has been eroded."
Apparently, Americans should trust President
Bush less now because he used appropriate security to provide
a morale boost to America's servicemen in Baghdad. Should Americans
trust the president less when they see his motorcade and are
left wondering which limousine has the president and which is
The White House press corps needs to get a
grip on reality and start
reporting on the issues that matter. On the other hand, the
American public has a duty to demand responsible reporting.
If not, the left-leaning media will continue to report what
they want you to hear -- whether it is news or not.
Bobby Eberle is President and CEO of
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