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President Bush Did Not Lash Out At Reporters For Doing Their Job

December 3, 2018

Another example of where we once were as a nation with presidential leadership, and where we are now.  Earlier I posted this.

In September 1988, Newsweek had published a cover story on Bush and his supposed “wimp factor .”  Bush addressed the matter but not in a vindictive or resentful manner.   He did not rant and rave. Instead he stressed that he would never dream of penalizing journalists for doing their job.

We really did have a nation with a president who acted like a grown up.  We have had many such presidents.  Until now.

Bush wrote the following words in 1988.  From Bush’s 2000 book, All  The Best. 

The last thing that I want or would condone would be taking a person for whom we all have real respect and making that person a ‘journalistic leper.’ . . .
 
I have made very clear to all concerned that Newsweek is to be treated with total fairness. Newsweek reporters are to be granted the same access and shown the same courtesy as others. I have no reason to believe this is not the case.
 
When it comes to going beyond these guidelines into giving Newsweek special consideration, giving them access to internal memoranda, indeed, giving them special treatment, I just can’t do that. In my view, I would be proving Newsweek’s point — that controversial editorial conclusion they reached and chose to express the very day I announced for the Presidency. . . .
 
My position is not based on ‘retribution.’ Getting even is not a part of my make-up. I also know there is a personal risk to me in all this. But I do not want your editors to totally misjudge my character once again.
 
[Y]our editors made a cool, calculating decision. They took a reporter’s story and drastically changed it by inserting time and again a most prejudicial word. . . . No one can argue about their right to do so [but] surely you do not want me to reward such a decision by giving that publication favored treatment. Surely you don’t want me to prove them right all along by rolling over and singling them out, granting them access and special inside, off-the-record handling not granted to others.
 
Fair access, unfailing courtesy, benefit of the doubt — yes. But proving their ‘Big W’ [i.e., wimp] point — never.

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