One of the few times I'm going to take issue with Liberal Catnip:
You gotta love Helen Thomas...
Nobody rattles White House press secretaries better:
Q Would the administration agree to a referendum in Iraq to see what the people really want?
MR. SNOW: No.
Stop. Right. There. It's at this point where you have to stop loving Helen Thomas since she didn't have the sense to shut the hell up.
She'd just asked a significant question that touched on things like Iraqi self-determination and sovereignty, and Snow had -- rather than launching into a meandering, vacuous filibuster which would have said absolutely nothing -- simply said "No." Jesus Christ, how can you not recognize that contemptuous dismissal for the journalistic gold that it is?
When someone says something that outrageously offensive and self-destructive, you don't give them a chance to rephrase their answer or try to add nuance to dig themselves out. You take that response, sit back down and hope like hell that someone else asks another question right now so that Snow doesn't have a chance to realize how badly he just fucked up and tries to fix things.
No, you take that answer and report on it verbatim, as in:
When asked if the administration would agree to a referendum in Iraq to see what the people really want, White House Spokesperson Tony Snow answered simply, "No."
And because you didn't give him a chance to get revved up, there's no way he can accuse anyone of taking him out of context, and that simple one-word dismissal would almost certainly have provoked a whole new round of thoroughly pissed-off Iraqis.
Being a good journalist means knowing how to ask good questions. Being a better journalist means knowing when you've got what you need, then sitting the fuck back down and shutting up.