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> Tom Shales: “Having made the decision to carry the speech, NBC and CBS could hardly then come on the air and say it wasn’t important. So, whatever they thought, anchors and reporters treated the speech as a news event.”
> There was a reference to the media in Bush’s speech: He said terrorists “take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq…”
> Wesley Clark, a new Fox News analyst, “was on FNC shortly after the speech apparently giving a Democratic response. Brit Hume seemed to give him much more respect and time than FOX normally gives its Democratic guests,” an e-mailer asserts…
> “MSNBC’s pre and post speech coverage has been great,” an e-mailer says. “Chris Matthews really timed his Church tour well! Maybe MSNBC should rent out the old Crossfire stage and have a live audience every night…”
> Tom Shales again: “CBS was the first network to rush away from the speech. Its coverage, passively anchored by Bob Schieffer, ended abruptly so the network could return to regular commercial programming: a sitcom rerun.”
> David Corn: “It was an artificial event; Bush was standing at the podium and reading words off a TelePrompTer that were written by a speechwriter not because he had anything new or significant to say but because the White House had no better PR alternatives at this moment.”
> Update: 10:12am: “Tuesday night, with the networks’ attention once again undivided, his poll numbers down and the war in need of his public relations help, [Bush] still wasn’t must-see TV,” Paul Brownfield says.