July 21, 2005

HERE’S A TRANSCRIPT of JOHN HOWARD’S DEVASTATING RESPONSE to dumb press questions about Iraq.

UPDATE: And this photo essay on Al Qaeda actions before the Iraq invasion makes Howard’s point rather graphically.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Trey Jackson has the John Howard video.

MORE: Reader Solon Brochado emails:

If someone hadn’t asked that question, you wouldn’t have prime-minister’s Howard great answer to quote (or link to), after all.

Now, I’m not trying to say that was the case. I’m sure that a great part of the press believes in that notion or, at least, think the terrorists’ acts are somehow justifiable, albeit wrong.

Nonetheless, I believe the question had to be asked. Any journalist knows what Howard’s or Blair’s answer to that will be. Still, it doesn’t matter whether you agree or not with their opinions, you’re a reporter and you have to report. And since that is a rather widespread opinion throughout the world, you MUST get Blair’s and Howard’s answer to it.

The tone-of-voice has to be taken into account, and it was, um, obnoxious.

If I were a reporter at that press conference, I would have asked: “Do you think the press’s sensationalization of the attacks, and rationalization of terrorists’ motives, is causing innocent people to be killed and put at risk?” My tone of voice I leave to your imagination, but it seems to me to be a far more reasonable question, and one that the rest of the world needs to hear at least as much.

STILL MORE: Wagner James Au emails:

Seems to me that the real issue isn’t whether the reporter asked a stupid question– he actually asks Howard if an Australian survivor of the 7/7 attack blaming the war in Iraq means we’re losing “the progranda war against terrorism”, which is a much more nuanced question than what the NRO Corner depicts (big surprise there)– the real issue is how Howard’s *response* is reported by the press, tomorrow. If at all. The mainstream media consistently promotes the uninformed narrative that coalition presence in Iraq is enflaming extremist Muslims into becoming terrorists– leaving unexplained the fact that terrorists in Iraq target Shiite Muslims far more than coalition troops (or for that matter, bomb London underground stops frequented by British Muslims.) Howard is puncturing that simplistic narrative with a frontal attack, and the press doesn’t like to be embarrassed. Look to see how many lead papers give prominent coverage to Howard’s statement. I’m guessing none to few do.

Good guess. But the question I originally referenced was asked of Tony Blair by another reporter — a woman, but I don’t know from what news service.

YET MORE: Richard McEnroe answers Au’s question with this report:

Of course, if you were in LA, you never saw it, because the minute Howard uttered the word “terrorism,” the video feed was cut. Was that the Beeb in England or Tribune in the US, I wonder?

Beats me, but it’s not surprising either way.

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