Who Gets the Exclusive Interviews

Monday, March 14, 2005

Who Gets the Exclusive Interviews

Both this recent post by Eugene and this story from Sunday's New York Times remind us of this White House's most avid hobby: creating pre-packaged news.

Yet the Bush administration's attention to managing and controlling the news takes many disturbing forms -- for instance, repeatedly issuing one-day White House press passes for a "reporter" by the name of Guckert (a.k.a., Jeff Gannon), as well as rewarding friendly media outlets with exclusive interviews.

This president has rarely held news conferences, a fact that gives these exclusive interviews a disproportionate impact in shaping public perceptions. Consider the exclusive interview that President Bush granted to Fox News' commentator Brit Hume on September 22, 2003. In case readers have forgotten, this was the interview in which Hume asked Bush:

g 6 questions about golf and the White House putting green
g 5 questions about Bush's exercise habits and bad knee
g 2 questions about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction
g 2 questions about jobs and the U.S. economy

Well, here's another example of the White House's practice of steering exclusive interviews latter. Today, WhiteHouse.gov alerts visitors that Karl Rove "talks with Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network." The reference to a "Salem Radio Network" is the only description that WhiteHouse.gov offers for Gallagher.

I'd never heard of Gallagher before so I googled his name. Salem Radio Network's website sheds additional light on who he is:
Mike Gallagher is a Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk radio host and Fox News Channel contributor and guest host. He recently began work on his first book, "Surrounded by Idiots: Fighting Liberal Lunacy in America," to be published by William Morrow, a Harper Collins imprint.
I haven't bothered to click on the audio link to this interview, but something tells me Gallagher's questions for Rove were every bit as tough as were Talon's questions for the White House.

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