Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Thursday, April 15, 2004

Is the White House Issuing Press Releases for Children?

Please don’t ask how it occurred to me to check this particular news source – but somehow I couldn’t help wondering how, or even if, some of the week’s more challenging news stories have fared in the ever-scintillating pages of My Weekly Reader.

Suffice it to say that it was an instructional exercise. For those who, like myself, found it difficult to channel their impressions of Tuesday night’s press conference into a form more literate than, say, smashing the television set – My Weekly Reader’s tidy recitation of assertions, neatly expunged of context, ambiguity, or question, is singularly impressive.

Here, in its entirety, is their report:

April 15, 2004
Bush: Work in Iraq Not Over

President George W. Bush vowed to "finish the work" in Iraq on Tuesday night, saying "we must not waver" despite recent weeks of increased bloodshed there. Bush addressed the nation in a televised speech. He said that a free Iraq is essential to winning the broader war on terrorism.

Bush talked about ongoing uprisings in Iraq. He said that the majority of Iraqis are happy that U.S. troops are stationed there to protect them. He said leftover members of Saddam Hussein's regime, terrorist groups, and radical religious leaders are behind the recent violence.

The president said the U.S.-led coalition will hand over rule to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, despite the uprisings. After the handover, U.S. soldiers will remain in Iraq "to protect [the interim] government from external aggression and internal subversion," Bush said.

There are currently 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Bush said that he will send more soldiers and more equipment if commanding Gen. John Abizaid asks for them.

One wonders what sort of classroom exercises this stuff will inspire. Class, did any of you actually hear what the President said on Tuesday? Do you think that the author of this article did? Is the author indicating, by placing the term “finish the work” in quotes, that the President was speaking ironically? Does anyone find it odd that the article omits any mention of the fact that the President “spoke” at a press conference? Or do you suppose it was just easier to ignore the fact that there were questions, than to report the fact that none of them were actually answered? Can you explain to me, class, the difference between an assertion and a fact? Which term best describes the statements attributed to the President?

There's a really important quiz coming up in November, kids, and you may need to help some of your parents study a bit more....

[this item cross-posted at DailyKos]


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