White House Reporting: Same Stuff, Different Day

Sometimes it can be tough for reporters who wish to provide the latest news about President Bush. We noted a trend that would make it easier for the White House press pool to provide presidential coverage and still have plenty of time to stop for that double cappuccino after dropping the kids off at Sidwell Friends School. What we observed is that almost all Executive Branch articles can be boilerplated. As an example, let’s look at yesterday’s headline and lead paragraph from Bloomberg:

Bush Calls Eavesdropping ‘Vital’ to War on Terrorism

Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about whether any administration officials raised objections to a secret eavesdropping program, said the surveillance of communications between the U.S. and overseas has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against terrorism.

While the individual topics may vary from day to day, the primary content doesn’t. To see how fill-in-the-blanks reporting might happen, let’s take a look at tomorrow’s hypothetical headline and lead paragraph:

Bush Calls Asset Forfeiture ‘Vital’ to War on Drugs

Jan. 3 (AP) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about the constitutionality of the seizing of property without due process first being served, said the forfeiture of real estate, motor vehicles and other property has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against drug kingpins.

Let’s try another example, for those who still don’t get the concept:

Bush Calls Torture ‘Vital’ to War on Terrorism

Jan. 4 (Reuters) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about the use of torture by CIA and military intelligence officers, said the torture of people of Arabic descent in secret facilities in Europe and the Middle East has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against terrorism.

The concept is simple. The White House practice is to name a war, call some egregious practice vital to winning the particular war, chuck the Constitution in the waste bin, and then defend the action by calling it important. Another hypothetical example provides:

Bush Calls Drug Raids at Growing Clubs ‘Vital’ to War on Patients

Jan. 5 (Fox News) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about continued death and suffering of people denied the use of medical marijuana, said the denial of states’ rights and basic human compassion has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against interstate commerce abuse by people growing a couple of plants in their back yards.

To make sure there is enough news to make it through to the end of the week, I’ll provide Friday’s story, as well:

Bush Calls Deficit Spending ‘Vital’ to War on Children

Jan. 5 (CNN) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about the continuing practice of increasing the federal deficit, said the ongoing cooperation between Congress and the White House to ensure that we escalate our level of indebtedness has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against future generations having any reasonable expectation or hope of ever obtaining financial security.

As reporters covering the White House can now take the rest of the week off, please consider this our holiday gift from the staff and readers of HoT.

2 Comments
  1. Alright, I’ll have my hand…

    Bush Calls Giving the Constitution the ol’ Cleaveland Steamer ‘Vital’ to War on Sanity

    Jan. 6 (AP) — President George W. Bush, responding to questions about decreasing freedoms, said the removal of certain basic rights guaranteed in the constitution has been ‘vital’ in protecting the country against the increasing threat of sane, and quote “libertarian” thought.

  2. Great one Matt. ;)

    I think it might come to that point soon. I think the Libertarians need to pip up more about this, and try to get the word out about crap like this.