Talk:President Bush calls on Helen Thomas during press conference; question stirs debate

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I would like to add the following paragraph:

His reasoning seems to be in direct contradiction to the fact that Saddam Hussein allowed inspections of suspected weapons facilities in the run-up to the war all the way until the inspectors were withdrawn upon the request of the U.S. and that he gave a disclosure of his weapons programs that since has been proven to be accurate.

but I don't have the time right now to research the sources to back this up. Will come back to this later today, help is welcome. --vonbergm 21:46, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


I'd suggest that is an assumption and an opinion. Wikinews is not a soapbox. If you can get someone els to say it, perhaps...? --elliot_k 04:17, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Elliot, that comment above is quite old. I decided to take out any hint that Bush's statement contradicted the facts. And so far I have not found a source that actually points this out the discrepancy... --vonbergm 04:46, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah so I gathered! Sorry about that. I was confused by the layout of this page. Apologies for the comment. Keep up the good work! --elliot_k 06:25, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Civil war aspect[edit]

The opening question, from an AP reporter, brings up Iyad Allawi's assertion that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war. Source:

There's a link to a video of the interview too. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:12, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Right now I am leaning toward dividing these into separate articles, as the focus of this one is that, when confronted with the assertion that "Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true.", Bush replied by giving reasons that are not true. --vonbergm 22:16, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

This news today may fit in?[edit]

Neutralizer 22:19, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Nice catch, this is a good news summary to back up the above statement. I will add it to the sources. --vonbergm 22:23, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


Can we add this picture from the White House webpage? Not sure how to do this and how to deal with potential copyright issues. --vonbergm 23:37, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

I've returned this to the main name space, as it clearly can develop into an article. I've tried to start it with a more neutral title, but I've also tagged it as POV since the order of presentation of the quotes makes it seems like an editorial. You should give a summery of the contraversy first, not just open with the diatribe aginst Bush. Nyarlathotep 00:33, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Nyarlathotep. I have cleaned up the last paragraph and condensed the quotes. I like your title. --vonbergm 00:44, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

NPOV? -- Improvements?[edit]

Any issues outstanding? Any improvement suggestions? --vonbergm 01:06, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

The article states: "The Duelfer Report on WMD in Iraq confirmed that Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 as disclosed by Hussein." This doesn't appear to mesh entirely with Duelfer Report. I would suggest rewording this sentence to reflect this. I also feel like the coverage of the exchange between Bush and Thomas could be clearer and more comprehensive. I'll look into rewriting portions of the article in about an hour. Gavindow 02:48, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Thoughts on this article[edit]

So, this article quotes a question and response made by the president during a press conference. It then quotes from a UN report, thereby implying that the Presidents response to the question was false. My question: has someone in US or World politics also made this inference, and declared that the Presidents response was false? If so, then it would be better to quote that person rather than make the inference ourselves. Remember, our job is not to uncover the truth, or draw implications, or create arguments, or make implications. Our job is to report. There are thousands of people criticising the President every day. Surely it is possible to track down someone who has made this particular criticism, and then report on it. - Borofkin 03:01, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I did a google search before writing the article and I just did another one. It came up with nothing relevant. Also, I don't really understand why one cannot report on a discrepancy between the words of the president and the facts of history. (Especially when this was ironically the base for the question of the reporter in the first place.) I guess one could sarcastically argue that this is not news, but... --vonbergm 04:15, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I have to admit, I love the article from a political standpoint...but I'm not sure if it's news as written. What's the controversy? Is someone complaining? Is this being brought up? The article does nothing to really explain this, save for commenting on what Bush said in the press conference. It could very well be titled "President Bush holds press conference" - and comment on a bunch of the questions. Although I believe there IS a controversy over the reasons for war, this article doesn't establish that, it just implies that Bush is wrong. Lyellin 05:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Again, I too do not believe this is news. However, as a response to Borofkin, Khofi Anan has stated the UN's position that the invasion of Iraq was illegal under the code of the Charter. The Charter, ratified by the US Congress, is both international and US law. - Amgine | talk en.WN 05:07, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Legality under the UN Charter is not the issue in this article. The issue is whether or not Saddam "chose to deny inspectors". For this article to become news, we need to find someone who has criticised the President, recently, for falsely claiming that Saddam did prevent inspections. As Lyellin has pointed out, at the moment there is no new controversy, except possibly here on Wikinews. - Borofkin 05:15, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree - and in it's current state, it's "NotNews". Lyellin 05:16, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
This is really a good faith question of a slow-learning and naive wikinews editor: The president lying during a news conference is not news? And that in response to a question that explicitely asked for a reason that is "true"? --vonbergm 05:26, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
So the media cannot hold the president accountible unless some bigwig points it out first? (Please excuse my naivity, I really don't get it.) --vonbergm 05:28, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
This article creates a controversy that is not there. Hell - he's been lying for 6 years. If, suddenly, news reports start complaining about this statement, it might be news. But currently, it was a statement made in a press conference that received virtually no attention. It's very easy to point out people who lie or misspeak. Heck, we can do that with every public official anywhere. It's not news. Unfortunetly, but it's not. It's trying to brew a controversy that isn't there. Lyellin 05:42, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, people misspeak. Or stretch the truth a little. But if, pretty much exactly 3 years after the invasion, in response to a question asserting that all resaons for the invasion previously given by the administration were not true, the president gives a reason that is not true -- that is not just another little "woops". I simply cannot share your sarkasm that a lying president -- on matters of war and peace, regarding decisions that has cost thousands (gross underestimate) of lives -- is not news. How did we get here? Only by letting this sort of thing go unreported over and over again. --vonbergm 05:49, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Vonbergm - trust me, I agree. I'm a rabid Democrat, worked against Bush both elections etc. But that does not make this article news. It's not. There is no controversy. No one is up in arms about this - heck, even Dailykos, the most liberal of blogs is barely talking about it. We cannot create controversy where there is none. WN is not at the point where we are creating the news - we are still working on covering the news that is there, and doing it better. This is an article designed to attack the President of the United States - whether deserving or not, that is what it is. It's not news until a controversy happens. Lyellin 05:52, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
"So the media cannot hold the president accountible unless some bigwig points it out first?" The media can do whatever they want. The mainstream media, despite what they say, are participants in the political system. Wikinews, on the other hand, is attempting to be neutral. It sounds odd, or even counterintuitive, but we don't recognise "truth" or "lies". For Wikinews to say, or imply, or suggest something is a lie would be to take a position, a point-of-view. We try to not do that. - Borofkin 05:53, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
We must be able to recognize some level of inconsistencies, or we'll be unable to preform our job of providing OR for wikipedia. Nyarlathotep 05:57, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I recognize the basic idea behind why people argue that this might not be news. That's why i have in previous cases run this kind of stuff as wackynews. But this case is simply too serious for that.--vonbergm 06:33, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

news or not[edit]

For the record, I happen to feel its news & nothing is wrong with posting stories about inconsistencies in retoric & such. Its not big news, but I posted a story about vending machines selling sex toys the other day too. :) It sounds like people have their arguments worked out, why not just continue this on WN:DR, nominated as notnews. It'll either live or die & we'll be done thinking about it. Nyarlathotep 05:54, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Edit attempt[edit]

I'm going to do a quick edit on the article. Just to tidy up some sentence structure and slight POV. --elliot_k 06:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)


Edit made. But upon perusal, whilst there's nothing really wrong with this article, there doesn't really appear to be any valid reason for this story to be told. Maybe its just me, but I'm thinking "why do i need to know this...?" Has any other government/opposition or lobby group made a statement about Bush's comment? To back up the "inconsistency" of comments? Its more an interesting observation by the contributor. NPOV, says we're not supposed to have an opinion :)... --elliot_k 06:43, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

This is the gist of the discussion under the "Thoughts on this article" section of this talk page. - Borofkin 06:45, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah yes. I seem to have come in a little late for comment now, I guess. But I see what you mean. However your comment in the "Thoughts" section above, where you say, amongst other things - "our job is not to uncover the truth"... Now, although it doesn't necessarily apply in this case, surely there's nothing wrong with a bit of Wikinews investigative reportage, along the lines of Original Reporting... I'm thinking that we need a clearer policy on what IS Wikinews, and whether or not is our job to "uncover" information or not. Respecta... --elliot_k 07:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that we are now touching on fundamental questions: What is Wikinews? What is original reporting? What makes us different from mainstream news outlets? There is still much to be discussed. As things stand at the moment, in the case of an article such as this a very strong argument must be made for it to remain. If such reporting does have a place here, then it should be possible to convince the community. - Borofkin 07:14, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Whilst this article in particular seems to make a comment, rather than report without assumption or bias, there is indeed much more to be said about this. Rather than discuss the merits of that here, maybe its worth starting another admin type page about this issue. Or flesh up the policy a little. It would be in the best interest of Wikinews to do more investigative/original reportage journalism. And yes, I really think we need to discuss this more. --elliot_k 07:52, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

What next?[edit]

There seems to be a general feeling here on the talk page that this article has some issues which need to be addressed. Vonbergm, as the originator of the article are you able to propose a way to remedy the issues that people have raised? - Borofkin 06:52, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I am sorry to say that I don't. Except wait until some democrat or otherwise motivated person of public interest points out that the president is lying. Just the fact that he is lying is just not news I guess... (Still can't get over that!) Or maybe follow Nyarlathotep's suggestion. --vonbergm 07:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC) (Going to bed now, curious where this will be when I wake up...)
Don't give up mate. Better still, ask someone of public interest for a comment. Email or telephone them. --elliot_k 07:13, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. You've demostrated that the President lied. So tell someone about it, try to get a quote. Do some original reporting - it's hard work, but it's also the future of Wikinews. - Borofkin 07:18, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

collection of responses[edit]

Trying to collect some responses to the exchange, but they are hard to find and they are mostly blogs and people on the fringes of the political spectrum.

Really nothing substantial. There is also a wealth of right-wing blogs slamming Helen for being unpatriotic or the like for asking the question. I will search the news again later today. --vonbergm 17:48, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Here is 206 news items which include the phrase "bush lied". The STars and Stripes might be good for soldiers' quotes. I will look through myself tonight if noone else does before; Neutralizer 18:24, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. The issue here is that Bush also gave a speech on Monday in Ohio in which he apparently "lied" and most articles that I found that way referred to that instance. I guess I am starting to believe more and more that a lying president is just not news. But I will take a look. --vonbergm 19:05, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Now, responses to THAT speech, could be news. Lyellin 19:07, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, that's a different article. And after taking a closer look at the news search above I found that it found 0 articles regarding Helen's question and none addressing the Ohio speach. Only the first few are new enough to cover these and they don't. --vonbergm 19:54, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
If you do a search for Helen Thomas Press Conference, there are at least a few articles from newspapers regarding the conference. Nothing near a controversy, but there IS an article to be made about the fact that Bush ended his boycott of Helen Thomas at press conferences. Lyellin 20:12, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Can I also suggust renaming this? perhaps "President Bush breaks boycott of Helen Thomas questions, causes stir at press conference"? Something like that. I think it would fit with the article better, and fit with the news situation as well. Lyellin 20:34, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I did just remove the publish tag - while this is being worked on/fixed up, better not to have it on the main page. Lyellin 20:41, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

removed section[edit]

Hey, I just removed: "On March 7, 2003, United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix asked for more time to continue with inspections. He characterized Iraqi cooperation with inspections at the time as "active, or even proactive." The inspectors withdrew from Iraq, just prior to the U.S.-led invasion, on the request of the United States and Britain.

The Duelfer Report on WMD in Iraq confirmed that Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991, as disclosed by Hussein."

My reasoning is that the article has evolved to focus on the question, and these paragraphs do not actually have to do with that in any meaningful way, beyond an attempt to editorialize that Bush was lying, which is not our place, the Josh Marshall quote does that quite well. I also published the article again in its current form. Lyellin 03:17, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Thats fine. But then we should flesh out his statement by adding (excerpts of) the paragraph he wrote prior to the actual quote:

Of course, that's not what happened. We were there. We remember. It wasn't a century ago. We got the resolution passed. Saddam called our bluff and allowed the inspectors in. President Bush pressed ahead with the invasion.

--vonbergm 04:19, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't bother me to do that - quoting Josh is fine in the context of the article. Lyellin 04:51, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
done. vonbergm 05:35, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Great Work in collaboration with this article[edit]

Maybe another quote from a Conservative - in response to the flak. --elliot_k 06:48, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Boy, Fox News did not pulish transcripts for that show, and I don't think I can survive watching it again to get anothe quote. And wading through blogs to dig up something is not much fun either. But if anyone has the energy... --vonbergm 16:37, 23 March 2006 (UTC)