The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Terri Gross channels Michael Moore

Posted by Bill Nance on August 22, 2008

Yesterday a segment on Fresh Air aired on National Public Radio with Former White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer, talking about his memoir; Taking Heat: The President, the Press, and My Years In The White House.’ The program was a re-broadcast of a 2005 interview, and was aired as a part of a series on Presidential history.

When interviewer Terri Gross started asking about the events on September 11, 2001, the interview took a decidedly left-wing wacko flavor when she asked about the first few minutes after the attacks on the World Trade Center. (complete version of the interview here)

At that time, President Bush as you may remember, was at a scheduled event in Sarasota Florida, listening to children read. According to Fleischer, they knew at the time about the first plane, but like most of us, assumed it was a pilot error. There was some discussion of issuing a press release that federal aid would be made available, but the President decided to continue his events as planned for the day.

Shortly after the second aircraft struck the Twin Towers, Chief of Staff Andy Card whispered in the President’s ear that the second tower had been hit, and that the country was under attack. Fleischer said he held up a sign to the president, who was still listening to the children, which read: “Don’t say anything yet,” because the information was still spotty, and he didn’t want the President to say anything until he’d been briefed on the situation and until they actually knew what the situation was. President Bush continued to listen to the children for the next seven minutes, then went into the next room and joined his staff, who were already working the phones to determine what had happened.

Sounds reasonable yes? Well, if you are a sane person, of course it does. What else would the President have done? Run out of the room screaming? Get up and sit in an empty room waiting to hear something which might or might not have been forthcoming at some indefinite time in the future? Of course not. It’s not like the man was incommunicado. The guy with the Football, and the White House staff do have cell-phones you know.

Unless you’re Terri Gross, or Michael Moore, who in his ridiculous and completely debunked hit piece; “Fahrenheit 911,” made out that the sky had fallen because of this seven minute gap, during which the president failed to panic enough to suit him. The interview took place in 2005, not too long after the movie was released. But here, in 2008, the piece was re-broadcast, and one has to wonder why, particularly with regard to the first portion of the interview.

Here are a few choice questions from Gross, who was given the same version of events I described, had presumably read Fleischer’s book, in which he described those events, and certainly had time to check the veracity of the Moore version before the interview took place.

” So many Americans are..surprised, confused by the fact that the president stayed in his chair and kept listening to the children FLEISCHER interrupting: “right.” GROSS: after he knew America was under attack. .”

Only Americans with an IQ less than room temperature; or who are in sympathy with Moore, or nefarious allies the International ANSWER Coalition;an organization who are fellow travelers with Maoists, Stalinists and every other form of human refuse with which the lunatic fringe of the Left seems to have aligned itself over the last 7 years. But by all means read how Gross digs herself deeper:

“But, is what you’re saying, that the president was basically irrelevant during the first few minutes after the second attack? That the president could afford to not be in the loop? -That other people were working the phones and the president didn’t matter? He could just stay listening?..I mean…” FLEISCHER: Well no, actually, the President too was working the phones. If I didn’t say that, I’m.. GROSS interrupting, “Well no, not during the minutes he was in the chair.

FLEISCHER: Well clearly not in those minutes he was in the chair, but keep in mind also that the president is not the finder of facts. The finders of facts are more along the lines of the Colonels and Lt. Colonels who work in the National Security Council and at the Department of Defense, or the Federal Aviation Administration. Those are the people who are on the front lines who are in communication with what’s happening on the ground. And then that information filters up, to the President, through either his National Security Advisor, Andy Card, or whoever it comes from.”

Now if that’s not a clear, reasonable and completely sound explanation of the facts, I don’t know what is. And any reporter who isn’t well aware of this is an incompetent. But apparently Gross thought otherwise:

“GROSS: But in a situation, where seconds count, as we well learned that day, why wouldn’t the President want to immediately get to a secure phone so he could immediately or as soon as he was ready or needed, be on the phone with whoever on his staff, or the military if he needs to?”

Seconds count? Why exactly did seconds count? What could have possibly been done in seconds? or for that matter in those “infamous seven minutes.” [insert scary music here]

At this point, Fleischer gave the same answer I did, which is simply to ask what else the President would have done. The country was going to be panicked enough without the President running out of the room as though the country had been nuked. Remember there were reporters there as well, so an image of calm was an appropriate one.

Gross is, in general, a fine interviewer, especially about art, books and music. She has a definite talent for getting her interview subjects to reach deep inside, revealing a great deal about their thoughts, feelings, etc. But when it comes to politics, I frequently find myself exasperated. She is no reputable journalist. She doesn’t ask hard questions to those with whom she obviously agrees, but she sticks it to people with whom she disagrees, and this is poor journalism as Gross well knows.

There is no left-wing conspiracy in the media. NPR is among the best, most thorough and accurate sources of news out there. But they should never let Gross talk about politics. She’s either out of her depth, or so biased she is unable to do a proper job.

Not withstanding my disbelief in conspiracies, one has to wonder why it was re-broadcast. The original interview was stupid enough. But to air this piece again, particularly RIGHT BEFORE THE DEMOCRAT CONVENTION smacks of something fishy.

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One Response to “Terri Gross channels Michael Moore”

  1. […] editorializing whilst pretending to be presenting news. As you may have noticed, I’ve blasted Teri Gross, the Associated Press,  Keith Olbermann, Chris Mattehews and of course I’ve mentioned […]

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