Once again, we have proof that this "liberal media" business is a total crock, and that the media is still in fact more in Dubya's pocket than anyone else's. What we've got here is an astouningly lame photo-op in which Bush is basically making a very complicated and fancy video-phone call to the troops; a competent media would've seen this for what it was, said "laaaa-ame" and given it maybe a passing mention in their news coverage, no more. But our supposedly wicked liberal Bush-hating media jumps up and says, "Oooh, yes, please let us cover the president's pre-staged phone call!"
Last year, when I was doing volunteer press-relations duty for the Clark campaign in Alabama, I sent out a press release announcing that a large group of state legislators had endorsed Clark and were going to gather for a conference call in which Clark was going to thank them personally. An editor from an Alabama newspaper I won't name here sent me back an incredibly snide, unprofessional e-mail saying (and this is almost 100% verbatim) "Wow! The legislators are getting a PHONE CALL from Wesley Clark." Like it was a silly non-event not worth covering. But I'll bet you money that they have a story on Bush's phone call in tomorrow's edition, and I'll peg the chances at 50-50 that it'll have a photo with it (25-75 that it'll make the front page).
Here's a priceless little Bush quote from the "event," though: "I wish I could be there to see you face to face and thank you personally. Probably a little early for me to go to Tikrit. Perhaps one of these days the situation will be such that I'll be able to get back to Iraq." I really hope someone has the balls to throw this back in Bush's or Scottie McClellan's face the next time one of them talks about how great things are in Iraq, how the violence really isn't that bad, the whole place is safer than a Lutheran church.
Speaking of Scottie, here's evidence of Sucka MC telling a flat-out lie (hat tip Atrios) about the nature of the photo op. Scottie says it was an unscripted, un-pre-screened event, press people in the Pentagon itself say otherwise. (I was going to ask why nobody's covered this aspect of the event, but then it occurred to me that neither a completely staged Bush event nor a complete lie told by the Bush administration are actually, you know, news, except in the dog-bites-man sense.)
Anyway, Georgia kicks off against Vanderbilt at 6:15 p.m. Central on ESPN2 on Saturday, and I'll be watching that here in my apartment, so if any press people want to cover that, feel free. I can guarantee that what I'm watching on my TV screen will be far be far more spontaneous and unpredictable than what Bush was watching on his.