Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Spinning the Speech

Before I move along to other fun and exciting things, I wanted to pass along the major papers' coverage of the president's speech last night, for your reading pleasure (or not, as you see fit). For my own take, scroll down to the live-blog of the speech and the insta-spin from last night, in which I clearly was much too hard on poor Bob Costas (who, I will admit, did a decent job with the interviews).

In the New York Times, Richard Stevenson analyzes the speech, saying that it "offered no new policies or course corrections, and for the most part was a restatement of the ideas and language that he has been employing for two and a half years to explain the war and assert that it is an integral part of a broader struggle to protect the United States from terrorism." Stevenson does credit Bush with being more forthright than in the past about his own reactions to the violence (using the word "horrifying"), and for his implicit contradictions of the "last throes" formulation offered by the vice president.

Also in the NYT, what passes for the straight coverage comes from David Sanger (but really almost approaches Stevenson's in its analytical elements). There is a "from the soldiers" reaction piece as well, by Kirk Johnson, as well as an editorial. The latter is even more disappointed with the speech than I was: "Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking. He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq." The piece also criticizes the repeated 9/11 references.

The Washington Post's main coverage is courtesy of Peter Peter and Dana Milbank, which notes the Kerry point from last night that "The address continued a shift in the administration's emphasis as it has justified the Iraq war, beginning with the threat posed by Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction, continuing to the need to promote democracy in the Middle East and now suggesting a more seamless link to the attacks on American soil."

Balz continues this line of argument in a separate analysis piece. Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright contribute an excellent fact-checking article on the speech (if you only read one today, read this). Tom Shales examines the media coverage of the event, and the WP also has an editorial, which is less sanguine than that in the Times, but says "Once again ... the president missed an opportunity to fully level with Americans ..."

The LA Times offers up coverage from Paul Richter and Edwin Chen, as well as a Ron Brownstein analysis. They too have an editorial. USA Today has coverage and analysis as well.

On to other things shortly ... stay tuned.

[Update: Alan at The Yellow Line has a good run-down of how centrist bloggers reacted to the speech, which he concludes by saying "So the resounding conclusion from the center seems to be: there was not much there, there. Whether or not this works to shore up support remains to be seen. Over the next few days I’m sure we’ll get some sense on how Americans are reacting and whether Bush achieved his goal." Agreed. -- 10:12 a.m.]


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