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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Email to Ron Suskind 

I just sent the letter below to Ron Suskind, cc'ing Kevin Drum (who replied, telling me he called Ron and left a message, but hadn't heard back yet). We'll see if he gets back to me.

Dear Mr. Suskind,

Well, there's been a bit of a brouhaha lately on the web concerning a Daily Trojan article about your visit to USC. Here's the quote from the article:
One of Suskind's most severe critiques of Bush was not only Bush's lack of press conferences but also his management of those conferences.
For each press conference, the White House press secretary asks the reporters for their questions, selects six or seven of the questions to answer and those reporters are the only ones called upon to ask their questions during the press conference, Suskind said.
In response to this, the office of the Public Editor at the New York Times seemed to acknowledge that several questions do get submitted beforehand. However, other media outlets and WH press reporters are adamantly denying this practice.

Is the Daily Trojan's representation of your critique accurate? If so, do you stand by this accusation? If not, could you help clear this up for me (and many others)? Thank you in advance for your time.

Sincerely,
Goldberg

ps. My favorite quote of the year was when you were on Bill Maher and said that you weren't pro-Bush or anti-Bush, you were just pro-fact. Besides being true, I thought it was hysterical on several other levels.

UPDATE: Looking here, here, and here, it seems that the consensus is that at least the legitimate news organizations don't do this, and as far as they know, no one submits questions beforehand. Sounds right, but leaves two questions:

1) Why would Suskind say this? He's a pretty respected journalist, and would have a lot to lose, I would think, if he just started making shit up. Maybe he was misquoted, maybe not. I'd like him to get back to me or at least get back to Kevin Drum.

2) Didn't Bush strongly imply that he gets some questions beforehand when he answered the question about mistakes by saying how he wished that he had gotten that question beforehand?
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