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Fake the Nation: The "interview" between Tim Russert and Putsch
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepps Commentaries
February 8, 2004

If anyone was expecting NBC's Tim Russert to sink his fangs into Putsch's neck the way he does with Democrats, well, you just haven't seen our Timmy in action. Or "inaction," as the case may be.

To give you an idea, his first question to Putsch was about the sham commission on the "intelligence failures" that he named the other day. Now I say "sham" because any commission where the person most affected by their investigation gets to hand pick the members is a sham. One where one of the members is Laurence Silberman, plumber for the October surprise, and mechanic behind numerous other GOP dirty deeds, including letting the traitorous Oliver North walk, is a sham. One where the most "prestigious" member, John McCain, has already opined that intelligence failures WILL be found to justify George's leetle mistake is a sham.

In other words, the commission is a complete joke, and there isn't a member of the press who doesn't realize that. Including Tim Russert.

Tim noted the existence of the commission, and finished up by asking, "You have been reluctant to do that for some time. Why?"

George spent several minutes avoiding that question, and wound up not answering it. Russert didn't try to follow up.

Getting the idea? The whole interview was like that. Russert would ask questions -- mostly softball questions -- and Putsch would avoid answering nearly all of them, and Russert would let it slide. A real reporter would have had George for breakfast, but it's been a long time since they had anything resembling journalism in the corporate media punditocracy.

Another example of Russert's inability to dig for a story, and Putsch's inability to answer any question more complicated than "Spell your last name" followed immediately.

R: "Shouldn't the American people have the benefit of the commission before the election?"

Pretending that this commission has benefitting the American people in mind is a real howler, but check out G-Dubs' answer: "Well, the reason why we gave it time is because we didn't want it to be hurried."

They're giving it until May of 2005. They don't want to be hurried. They couldn't give the UN inspectors that much time to verify that Iraq no longer had any WMDs at all, but now they don't want to hurry.

What was Russert's response to this answer, which a real reporter would have considered a beautiful opening?

He asked if George was going to testify. George spoke for several minutes, and failed to answer that question, either. It was a pretty amazing performance by two men, each half-heartedly following by rote what used to be a valued American tradition of the press keeping the politicians accountable to the people.

At one point, Russert actually asked Putsch if he should have waited to make sure he had iron-clad evidence before attacking. It was probably the toughest underhand girls' softball pitch of the night.

Putsch responded, "Let me take a step back for a second and there is no such thing necessarily in a dictatorial regime of iron clad absolutely solid evidence. The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon."

Wonderful. Putsch didn't need evidence before murdering over ten thousand people because Saddam wouldn't need such evidence. Nice to know the Prez wants to operate on the same level Saddam did. And notice the "-a- weapon" Last we heard from Streetwalkin' Powell, the man had hundreds of pounds of anthraxd, tons of ricin, sarin, missiles, and maybe even nukes.

Now we're talking about -a- weapon. A paper bag filled with doggie poo, perhaps.

Russert? No, he didn't follow up on that.

He failed to follow up on other howlers Putsch uttered. "Well, I think we are welcomed in Iraq. I'm not exactly sure, given the tone of your questions, we're not. We are welcomed in Iraq." "Well, Tim, I and my team took the intelligence that was available to us and we analyzed it, and it clearly said Saddam Hussein was a threat to America." Using weapons that, um, didn't exist, that's right. "I strongly believe that inaction in Iraq would have emboldened Saddam Hussein." Just as the previous 12 years of inaction emboldened him so much he completely dismantled his WMDs, right, George?

Another one that should show up in quite a few sig files was, "See, free societies are societies that don't develop weapons of mass terror and don't blackmail the world." Well, we had noticed that Republicans rarely talked about America being a free society any more, but we had no idea it was because America had 70% of the world's nukes and outspent the next 40 nations combined on its military. But in announcing our right to invade and occupy any country we deem "a threat", there's no blackmail there. Just protection. Yeah, that's the ticket: protection!

And at another point, he said, "In nine months' time, there's -- we're now saying, democracy must flourish. And as I recall from my history, it took us quite a while here in the United States, but nevertheless we are making progress." That's right: it took nearly 210 years to get from the Bill of Rights to Kathleen Harris and Antonin Scalia. But we finally achieved Putsch's notion of what freedom and democracy are!

After breaking for commercial, the subject of AWOL's Texas Air National Guard "service came up. Putsch tried to portray questions about his service as an attack on the national guard, and didn't get him any traction., Russert asked, "When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?"

Putsch: "Yeah. Listen, these files I mean, people have been looking for these files for a long period of time, trust me, and starting in the 1994 campaign for governor. And I can assure you in the year 2000 people were looking for those files as well. Probably you were. And absolutely. I mean, I . . ."

Yeah. Well, we kinda thought you might have a little trouble finding them. I wonder if Rush will howl derision about that for the next year, the way he did when Hillary couldn't find some obscure 15 year old billing records. C'mon, Rush: maybe someone will offer you some great drugs if you do it!

Asked about the economy, Putsch blamed Clinton ("The stock market started to decline in March of 2000." -- but of course, it climbed back up to 10,000 by early 2002 before it tanked again), 9/11, but despite all that, the deficit is going down and my tax cuts will still create a million new jobs in the sweet by and bye.

It was a spectacularly bizarre performance, by both Putsch and Russert. A parody of the American custom of the interview.

I saved the best for last, and will quote from the MSNBC transcript of the "interview" with no further comment. It speaks for itself:

Russert: "Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?"

President Bush: "I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way."

Russert: "But you didn't volunteer or enlist to go."

President Bush: "No, I didn't. You're right. I served. I flew fighters and enjoyed it, and we provided a service to our country. In those days we had what was called "Air Defense Command," and it was part of the air defense command system. "The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions, and it is lessons that any president must learn, and that is to the set the goal and the objective and allow the military to come up with the plans to achieve that objective. And those are essential lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War."

All direct quotes taken from MSNBC Interactive.

Topplebush.com
Posted: February 9, 2004

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