Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman relates how (1/13/09), at George W. Bush’s last press conference, he was “professing what he called his ‘respect’ for journalists” by asserting that “always the relationship I have felt has been professional.” Yet, Goodman tells us, “despite his avowed respect for the media, Bush refused to call on the journalist Helen Thomas”–perhaps because of hard-driving queries like this, from “one of the last times” he let Thomas speak, “in July of 2007”:
Mr. President, you started this war, a war of your choosing, and you can end it alone, today, at this point, bring in peacekeepers, U.N. peacekeepers. Two million Iraqis have fled their country as refugees. Two million more are displaced. Thousands and thousands are dead. DonÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t you understand? You have brought the al-Qaeda into Iraq.
Having been silenced at the White House, the “first female member and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association” and current “senior member of the White House press corps” gives Goodman’s audience her views on the last news conference: “I thought it was nostalgic. I understood the reporters’ soft questions,” but “I think they gave him a platform of self-defense and self-delusion. The whole idea that it was a disappointment not to have weapons of mass destruction? A disappointment?” And what would Thomas have asked, given the opportunity?: “I would have asked a news question. I would not have gone into the nostalgia.”
Listen to FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin: “Phyllis Bennis on George W. Bush & Helen Thomas” (3/24/06)