Media Madness

Tony Snow gave a press conference today. He began by noting some significant facts about Iraq:

He also this morning had phone calls with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the three members — these were separate phone calls, these were four phone calls total — the other members of the presidency council: Jalal Talabani, Adil Abd al-Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashimi. All of the conversations were about ongoing political progress and developments within Iraq; the President encouraging all of them to move not only aggressively forward, but also move together on issues of concern.
They do report that they have now transmitted to the council of representatives, their legislature, the oil law, and are hoping quite soon to have a related piece of legislation, one that has to deal with the distribution of oil and hydrocarbon revenues, before the legislature quite soon. The President, nevertheless, encouraged them to keep moving on other areas of political interest, including constitutional and political reform, and to work well with one another.

He also talked about the high re-enlistment rates our armed services are enjoying:

There’s also going to be a re-enlistment ceremony at Camp Victory in Baghdad tomorrow. At a ceremony, more than 500 troops who were in the fight in Iraq are going to re-enlist in America’s Armed Forces. Troops who have served in Iraq, as I’ve noted many times, continue to re-enlist in high numbers — higher numbers than throughout the military, generally. In fiscal 2007, so far, more than 140,000 soldiers have enlisted or re-enlisted in the Army. All three components are above the retention goals as of the end of March; overall retention mission is 37,578.
In addition, the 500 re-enlistees will be joined by a hundred comrades who will raise their right hands in the oath of becoming citizens of the United States of America.

Snow then opened the floor to questions. But the White House press corps had not a single question on these important topics. What followed was–by my count; sometimes it is hard to distinguish individual questions in the general hysteria–92 questions about Scooter Libby. Many of them were beyond silly:

Q Was the President scared that if Scooter Libby went to jail that he might then talk about some secrets in the White House that would damage the President?
Q How can you stand there with a straight face and say that this is not a political act? What he did was inherently political.
Q So it’s not really excessive for him, then. Most average Americans couldn’t afford $250,000, but most average Americans don’t have Fred Thompson raising millions of —
Q Won’t this encourage other members of his administration to obstruct justice?
Q Tony, you didn’t answer the question about Karl Rove, though. So why wasn’t Karl Rove fired?
Q Does Scooter Libby owe the President something now?

But, hey, it wasn’t all Scooter, all the time. There were three questions about other topics. Count ’em, three.
Is there a more incompetent institution in American life than the White House press corps? Is there another contender?
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