Saturday, May 07, 2011

Listening to Brian Williams:

On the Charlie Rose show of May 5, Brian WIlliams was guest-hosting due to Rose's absence. In a segment with Bobby Ghosh, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Adam Gopnik, the following exchange took place:
I ... went to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Everybody saw that [Obama] was extremely funny, relaxed. What you probably couldn't see ... was that he was completely relaxed and seemed to be taking great delight in getting zinged by Seth Myers and the other people ...

I thought it was impressive at the time. When you realize he had already given the order, he knew that his entire presidency was on the line and could very well blow up in his face tomorrow. Say what you like about what he does, if this man doesn't have the right temprement for that job, I don't know who does.
Yet why didn't George Bush get credit for remaining in that classroom, going ahead with the lession plan, reading to those children and not running out of the room ashen-faced.
There are significant differences between those two situations. On September 11, when Bush was notified of what was happening, he was told the nation was "under attack". In the initial stages of a surprise attack, time is a critical resource. There is an immediate need for presidential involvement, for things like authorizing shooting down aircraft and other decisions pertaining to national security. "Running out of the room ashen-faced" was not the only alternative to sitting there for 7 minutes. For Brian Williams, NBC's top news honcho, to consider Obama's and Bush's coolness-under-fire to be essentially the same is absurd.

In other Bush-love, the Sunday shows for May 8 are loaded with former administration officials. Including Liz Cheney! Given that her outfit, Keep America Safe, has already issued a proclamation congratulating the military and intelligence services, and pointedly omitting Obama, you know what her attitude will be when asked about the mission.


No doubt about it: Brian Williams is dumb as a bag of hammers.

But it's all part of the prevailing "MUST MAKE FALSE EQUIVALENCY!!" dictum of the modern media. As we've discussed many time in many places, this is the dictum that makes seemingly rational people say stuff like "Rush Limbaugh's racist comments are okay because there was this one guy with a homemade sign that was seen at a protest outside lower Podunk."

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