Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Ari Fleischer's View From the Briefing Room
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page C01
Day after day, Ari Fleischer stood at the White House podium and insisted the administration knew that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons.
Is he embarrassed about that?
"I said what the government was thinking at the time," says the former presidential press secretary. "I accurately articulated what we believed."
But since that turned out to be untrue, wasn't his own credibility tarnished? "Everyone recognizes the press secretary is not the finder of facts."
Fleischer's book, "Taking Heat," is out today, and while his style isn't to smack people around, he is the first Bush administration insider to offer a sustained indictment of the media. White House correspondents, he says, are mostly liberal. Mostly negative. Mostly opposed to tax cuts. Mostly unwilling to give his president a break. Mostly interested in whipping up conflict.
He portrays journalists as good human beings who, sad to say, are biased and defensive. Even when ripping Hearst columnist Helen Thomas -- "I don't care for her politics one little bit" -- Fleischer hastens to add: "Helen and I could go at each other in the briefing room but in private we really like each other."
His technique is to publish some of her questions:
"Does the president think that his hands-off policy has contributed in any way to the hopelessness and the rising violence in the Middle East?"
"Ari, does the president think the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal military occupation and suppression?"
"My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?"
Read the rest of the article, here...
Ari Fleischer's View From the Briefing Room (washingtonpost.com)