Watching the media circus on the tube today, specifically the Donald Rumsfeld and Ari Fleisher shows. The ink-stained wretches of the domestic press pool have outdone themselves in asking less than brilliant questions. Some of the gems of journalistic wisdom included “Why hasn’t the war ended sooner?” and “Did you underestimate the importance of the Fedayeen Saddam?” I was half expecting a journalist to ask “Do you wet the bed?” of Ari Fleischer or “Is that really your hair?” of Donald Rumsfeld.
Journalists in the past 30 years have undergone a dumbing-down that is remarkable. I’ve done reporting and its not a tough job. Five W’s Who, What, When, Where, Why and just to fill it out, How. Ask those questions, write a lead that answers those questions, then expand on it. A classic pyramid. Do some research and check some facts. Get two or more experts to back up the basic idea, or refute it and you’ve got a 2000 word op-ed or think piece.
In a press conference, with all the other meat puppets trying to ask questions, journalists have a brain fade and park their common sense at the door. Ask Donald Rumsfeld if he underestimated the importance of the Fedayeen Saddam and he’s not going to answer “You know, I think you’re right. We might of. Dammit Tommy, why didn’t you think of that?” Ask Ari Fleischer why the war isn’t already over, he’s not going to say it’s because of this, that, or the other. The reason Rumsfeld or Fleischer aren’t going to give out the answer is simple: The question is moronic.
So, as a demented public service, we’re going to give out what Rumsfeld and Fleisher would answer, if they were not so utterly appalled by the astounding vapidity of the questions:
Journo #1 “Did you underestimate the strategic importance of the Fedayeen Saddam?”
Rumsfeld: No we didn’t. We knew they had these loonies around. We didn’t know that they were so disturbed as to shoot at us from behind a group of women and children. We just figured they were run of the mill assholes with shitty attitudes and pickup trucks who would run off at the first sign of real guns. Turns out they’re real head cases. Could we predict that? Hell no. Nobody could. But we’re shooting every one we can find, because that’s what you do with rabid animals. If they want to do a suicide mission in a school bus full of dynamite, we’ll see to it they see Allah right smartly.
Journo #2 “Why hasn’t the war ended sooner?”
Fleischer: Because Saddam Hussein isn’t dead yet. We’ve got feet on the street trying to kill the little shit, but he keeps moving around a lot. Consequently we have to bomb a lot of Iraq and shoot at all the nimrods that protect him. If the Iraqi people, or his bodyguards would just strip Saddam naked, beat the shit out of him, and toss him out of a truck near one of our tanks, we’ll take it from there. Until that point, we have to do it the hard way. As to why, well, you best go to Baghdad and ask Saddam. He can give up any time he likes.
Journo #3 “Is the President expressing an opinion regarding the Syrian situation that is a foreign policy initiative change vis-a-vis the Palestinian situation and the role of the Kurdish Homeland?”
Fleischer: I have no idea what kind of question that was and I suspect you don’t either, except to use policy-wank jargon and string together as long a sentence as you can touching on things you either know nothing about, or was written for you by somebody else. Our foreign policy has not changed regarding Syria, Kurdish Homelands, Turkey, Montana, Palestine or Israel. If you are looking for minutiae that can be construed as some millimetric change in foreign policy, go stare at the waistband of your underwear for four hours. Then try to write a simple declarative sentence that contains a question. Asshole.
Journo #4 “Are we taking more casualties than were expected?”
Rumsfeld: Trying to predict how many of our guys and gals are going to get killed in a war, is like trying to predict how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Or, on a pinhead like you. As soon as the gunfire starts, all bets are off and all estimates become educated guesses. We don’t want to send even one of our people home with so much as a hangnail or sunburn. But the enemy has other ideas. We train our people about as well as can be done, but when you play with guns and bombs, eventually someone is going to get killed. We hate it and we try not to get our people killed.
Journo #5 “Will the missile attack on the Kuwaiti shopping mall change the focus of the war?”
Rumsfeld: Yes, emphatically. We were just goofing around up ’till then. Now it’s serious when they try to blow up a Wal-Mart. I’ve asked Colin to ready the nukes.
Journo #6 “Does the President consider the relations with the coalition partners to be critical to the mission now facing the US”
Fleischer: Yes he does. If he didn’t, he would be an idiot, like you. He’s the President and you’re some jackoff reporter with epoxied hair, faggy makeup and a cheap suit. He keeps the coalition up to date on all the stuff we’re doing, maybe not the minute by minute shit, as we can all watch CNN, too, but the big strokes. That’s the way they like it and the President likes it.
Rumsfeld: That’s enough exposure to stupidity for one day…
Fleischer: Fuck you, very much.