Let me, if I may, give the WHPC some unsolicited advice, based on this amusing recent development:
Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.
Understand something -- this is not just a matter of sloppy semantics. For quite some time, the Bush White House has been adamant that the upcoming report on the progress in Iraq would be written by Gen. Petraeus and/or Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and the folks at TPM have thoughtfully collected some explicit examples of that claim (all of the ones below by none other than WH Spokesreptile Pony Blow ... uh, Tony Snow):
- "... in fact, you have a report that is a joint report by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker."
- "The fact is that Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus will be putting together a plan — not really a plan, but a report — ..."
- "Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus will be issuing a report, again pursuant to that legislation, that's due September 15th."
- "It is the business of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to provide a full report to Congress."
And on and on and teeth-gnashingly on. And now? Whoops. So it's time to see if there's anyone in the WHPC with some nads left.
At this point, the proper reaction from an actual journalist would be to nail Tony's ass to the fucking wall along, say, these lines:
"Tony, on several occasions, when you were addressing the upcoming progress report on Iraq, you explicitly and unequivocally claimed that that report would be the product of both Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker."
"On July 18, you explicitly said ... On July 20, you said ... On July 23, you used the words ... and there are many more examples of that phrasing. In short, you left no doubt whatsoever in the minds of all of us that the report was going to be produced by those two individuals, and yet we now learn that the report will, in fact, be written by the White House."
"Why have you been lying to us all this time?"
And, yes, it should be phrased just that way -- the questioner should flat-out accuse Snow of lying. There is no way anyone can read Snow's previous statements and not come away with the impression that he was obviously trying to give, so Snow should not be allowed to start tap dancing and spinning and playing word games by saying things like, "Well, we're certainly going to take their input into consideration" or rubbish like that.
Call a spade a spade. And call a liar a liar. Does anyone in the WHPC still have the cojones to act like a real journalist anymore?
BETTER AND BETTER: Oh, this is going to be such fun:
Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.
White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. "The administration plans to follow the requirements of the legislation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in response to questions yesterday.
Would anyone care to make a prediction? Here, let me start: the Bush administration will do whatever it wants, and will tell Congress to fuck right off if it doesn't like it.
Now it's your turn.