Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bush and reporters.

At our President's recent press conference, he made a statement and then took questions. Here's a section of the transcript:
THE PRESIDENT: [...] Stretch. You mind if I call you Stretch in front of --

Q I've been called worse.

I don't know who that reporter was, but the transcript really does not do justice to his reaction. I took a bad picture of my TV screen, let the dog chew on it for a few minutes, and then scaled it down. Here it is:
I've been called worse
As I recall, this is as he's saying, "I've been called worse." I don't know who this guy is or anything about him, really. Maybe he looks like that all the time. Maybe the reporter behind him just sneezed on his hair. Who knows? When I saw this, however, my reaction to his reaction was, "that guy's pissed." Who could blame him? The President of the United States just called him "stretch" on national television. The White House press corps doesn't carry the same celebrity status as Simon Cowell, but I'm guessing he wanted a little more recognition than offered. What that look says to me is, "yes I do mind, Mr. President. I don't appreciate you shattering my illusion that the leader of the free world is more mature than the people I went to high school with."

Here's another:
As I recall, that was taken as he was asking his question.

This reminds me of something else from the press conference. Before the thing started, the folks on NBC made sure to mention that it was the first conference in a year. I've heard that the Bush administration keeps the press at a distance more than administrations in the past, and the press are (understandably) grumpy about that. I view the "stretch" exchange as symbolic of all that. Calling a reporter by a name you've made up communicates that the reporter isn't important enough to bother remembering. All the press can seem to do about it is glare.
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