Brent Bozell

But Moran wasn't done with his "question." He added: "May I ask what went wrong that so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?" Moran's been repeating this "arrogant power" line as if he received a check for $100 every time he used it on television. Afterward, Peter Jennings praised it as "straightforward." There's no doubt many Americans would have loved to see Bush turn the tables: "As if there's no arrogance of power coming from you and Peter Jennings."

But that's what Moran wanted: not news, but bile ... pique ... a spectacle.

Moran told the Observer that a questioner has to "create a moment of confrontation with the president," to make sure the president doesn't just "stand up there and use all the majesty of the presidency to amplify his image." ABC doesn't want us to go to the videotape and remind people of ABC's servile questioning of Bill Clinton. Days after his second inauguration in 1997, Clinton held a news conference with some tough questions about his fundraising abuses. But not all the reporters were tough.

ABC's John Donvan asked if despite his "lofty goals" on education, for example, "many questions in the press and in Congress have focused on issues like campaign fundraising. My question is whether you are worried that the well is being poisoned even now for the realization of these goals before you can get out of the gate, particularly on the issue of bipartisanship?" That's odd. In the Bush presidency, poisoning the well for Bush's policy goals seems to be the primary mission, not the saddening side effect.

So don't buy it when anyone complains the press conference was too easy, and too scripted. That accusation is a little odd coming from pampered, scripted network TV stars like Moran. Wouldn't it be fun to put him at the podium and give him a dose of his own arrogant medicine? He'd be pleading for "zombies" in no time. And he wouldn't deserve them.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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