President Bush on C-SPAN Discusses ‘Noise’ and ‘Chatter’ in the Media

By: E&P Staff

President Bush was interviewed today on tape by Steve Scully of C-SPAN, and asked, among many other questions — one of which he labeled “trick” — what he thought of media treatment of the Iraq war.

Bush replied, smiling, “You know, that’s — I — I — I’m wise enough not to bash the media. I would hope, however, that they would take a good look at, for example, the rest of the country outside of Baghdad and Anbar province, where — at least the reports I get are, people are beginning to live a normal life.

“And you know, it’s — it’s — it’s — if you’re in a — a correspondent in a war zone, it’s a little difficult to travel around the country on a free basis. But look, I’m not going to complain about the media.” The comments come from a transcript supplied by CSPAN.

Bush also mentioned the media “chatter” and “noise” in Washington, inspiring Scully to ask him to define it. That exchange follows.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I say, we’ve got a comprehensive policy aimed to solve this peacefully. Look, this is typical Washington, where people are out speculating and — I do think it makes sense to make it clear to the Iranians, through the international community, as — that they’re isolating themselves. And we will continue to press hard to do so.

(Laughs.) I guess my reaction to all the noise about, you know, he wants to go to war, is — first of all, I don’t understand the tactics, and I guess I would say it’s political. And on the other hand, I hope that the members of Congress, particularly in the opposition party, understand the grave danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that therefore, we all need to work together to solve the problem.

Q You use that word “noise” a lot. What — how do you define that?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, there’s just a lot of chatter here in Washington. I mean, it’s hard for some of your viewers to get it, I guess, unless they pay attention to the daily grind of news and comments and press releases.

And I guess I will just say that there’s endless chatter, a lot of people on TV expressing their opinion, which is fine. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, that’s just part of the — (chuckling) — after all, I’m on TV expressing my opinion with you.

But it’s just a lot of chatter in Washington, a lot of people expressing themselves on a regular basis.

Q Some your strongest supporters — Laura Ingraham on radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity — have said that part of the problem is that the media haven’t covered the full story in Iraq. If things go badly in Iraq, are the media responsible?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, I think I — you know, if that’s — that’s a — a pretty interesting trick question — you know, if things go badly. I think they’re going to go well. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have made the decision I made.

The question is what — the definition of “go well.” If — if the definition of success is — is that there will be no suicide bombers, then we’ve really placed our fate in the hands of those who are willing to kill themselves. If the definition of success is the emergence of a stable society that’s beginning to reconcile and do the political work necessary, then I — I — I think we’ll succeed.

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