March 22, 2007

Harry Smith sheds even the veneer of objectivity

in an interview with Tony Snow this morn. If you read the transcript and learned that it was James Carville who had conducted the interview, you wouldn't be the least bit surprised. It has all the hallmarks of agenda driven slam piece, the sarcasm, the condescension and the refusal to address any of the interviewee's points. Please read (commentary is from Newsbusters, the link above).

HARRY SMITH 7:03 AM ET: You know the news, the House panel has authorized subpoenas. The senate is likely to do so today. Is the White House ready to invoke executive privilege? [Note the provocative question from the top; Smith raising the stakes by suggesting the White House might invoke executive privilege].

TONY SNOW: Well, first, you're way ahead of the game right now, Harry. People have authorized subpoenas, they haven't served them.

SMITH: The people are pretty aware of what the deal is. You've basically offered a chat -- [note Smith's mocking use of "chat" to describe the White House proposal].

SNOW: No, wait --

SMITH: No, no, no, go down to the hill --

SNOW: No, no, wait, harry. You've framed the issue falsely. Let me help you out a little bit --

SMITH: Let's cut to the chase. Why not go down there and let these people testify under oath?

SNOW: First, what you're assuming is the center of action is the White House. This is a decision, a decision process that began at the Department of Justice, was executed by the Department of Justice. So the first thing you want to ask yourself is "what happened?" The Department of Justice said every key official is available. You can all go down there, testify under oath. The second thing is, they're going to make available any documentation and any communication anybody needs. Now what you need to understand, Harry --

SMITH: Tony, even from a cursory look at these e-mails it looks like it reaches much farther than the justice department.

SNOW: No, it doesn't. What it means -- if you take a look at the e-mail, harry it appears there were some communications like "what we're thinking about" --

SMITH: Karl Rove wasn't involved? Harriet Miers wasn't involved? Come on. [Said in a derisive tone].

SNOW: This is where -- I think what you're trying to do is create a narrative that I'm not so sure the facts are going to justify. This is why what we're trying to do is get everybody to figure out what's the deal. Let me start again --

SMITH: Hang on, hang on --

SNOW: Let me explain this point --

SMITH: Perception --

SNOW: Harry, come on --

SMITH: No, listen --

SNOW: The perception is you're trying to badger me into creating a fight between the White House and the legislative branch. What we're trying to do is something pretty extraordinary. The legislative branch has no authority over the White House --

SMITH [now in full flight as Dem inquisitor-in-chief]: Tony, here's what it looks like. These people who serve at the will of the president, or the pleasure of the president, have been kicked out for undue political influence. Even on the front page of the "Washington Post" today you have the lead prosecutor in the big tobacco case saying the Alberto Gonzales justice department, quote/unquote, political interference is happening at justice across the department. When decisions are made now in Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. The rule of law goes out the window.

SNOW: Harry, you're sounding like a partisan rather than a reporter here. Let me -- please permit me to try to explain what's going on. Because if you take a look also, reporting in New York Times, what they've said is a look at the documents, which indicate there's no political interference. When people have looked at the available documentary evidence in the case of the U.S. attorney, zippo. So I think what you need to do is to stop trying to make this political interference and maybe do what we're asking members of congress to do, which is figure out what the facts are.

SMITH: When it comes down to evoking executive privilege, I want to return to you some of the words you wrote during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold, and that is the rule of law. Is that not what we're most interested in?

SNOW: No, we're interested in facts and the rule of law. Please permit me to explain. You've mischaracterized the offer we've made. You've put it in a slanted way and I'm shocked here --

SMITH: No, no, honestly, have a transcript --

SNOW: Every --

SMITH: From your press briefing yesterday.

SNOW: Yes.

SMITH: Why don't you allow there at least to be a transcript from this offer to the members of congress?

SNOW: You're looking at this through a straw. I think the American people probably deserve to know what the offer is and the offer is this -- any shred of information anybody needs is going to be available. And what you're -- what we don't want is kind of a Perry Mason scene where people are hot-dogging and grand-standing and trying to score political points. If you want the truth, we're going to make the truth possible. Everybody's going to be able to find out everything. Furthermore -- let me make the point I've tried to make a couple times.

SMITH: Very quickly.

SNOW: The executive branch doesn't have to do anything. What we've decided to do is make available any communication -- if anybody's worried about the communication the white house may have made with somebody, they're going to get it. If they're going to want to get an answer and want to get the facts from somebody, they're going to get it. What they're not going to get is the ability to create a show trial atmosphere. People are tired of that. They probably would like to get the truth. Wouldn't you?

SMITH: You bet. You owe it to me.

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Blogger Repack Rider said...

Wow, Tony Snow sure is a liar.

The "offer" by the White House was a joke. No transcripts? No oath?

Even President Clinton had to take an oath, in a matter of no national importance, but STAFFERS are supposed to have privileges that the presdent does not?

What's the argument against swearing to tell the truth? I hope George and Karl keep this alive for the next year and ahalf. I think the American people should be treated to an endless conversation about why Karl Rove does not have to swear to tell the truth.

A few months of that, and he won't have to testify at all to insure the GOP will lose a few hundred more seats.

Thu Mar 22, 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger barista grazioso said...

You're an idiot repack who's nothing more than a puppet. tony Snow is a liar? Are you privvy to more information than he? And btw - learn how to spell President (with a capital). Your last paragraph? I'm not sure which country you're living in, but losing a few hundred seats for the GOP? Where? Take a Civics class. Understand the Constitution, and THEN attempt to make an educated and enlightened comment.

Myra, Tony Snow is one of the best. I have no idea how he keeps his cool when time and time again he's badgered by the liberal mainstream media. He's so cool under fire in fact, that he manages to make them look like hysterical shrews who are doing nothing more than trying to pick a fight. I sincerely hope the White House keeps its spine regarding this issue, because if not, the Constitution will have a serious dent in its armour.

Thu Mar 22, 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

First of all Repack, this is only an attempt to smear Repubs and fulfill a vendetta against Rove because he has beaten your ass so badly in the past. Calling in aides to testify about communications about something the Justice Dept and Prez had a complete right to do is ridiculous. Ya just wanna get Rove on paper, so the second he gets a date wrong in his testimony, you can sick a special prosecutor on him. If you only wanted the truth there wouldn't be a problem, but if you want blood, fight for it!!!

Thu Mar 22, 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

I agree, barista, he biyatchslapped that lil Helen Thomas troll doll a few times. He does rile 'm up.

Thu Mar 22, 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Shepherd said...

Thanks for the link, Myra.

I'm bloglining your site. Good stuff.

Hope you'll consider adding NewsBusters to your blogroll.

Thu Mar 22, 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

Thats great, Ken. I certainly will add NewsBusters. I feel remiss I haven't earlier because I frequent it so much.

Thu Mar 22, 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger barista grazioso said...

I LOVE Newsbusters. I too need to blogroll it.

Thu Mar 22, 07:35:00 PM  

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