Great exchange between Donald Rumsfeld and Jim Lehrer on PBS last night. Here’s the transcript. Rumsfeld starts the interview off on the right foot.
DONALD RUMSFELD: Oh, I think that it’s — if you look where the news media is, it’s down very low at the polls. If you want to get into public opinion polls, people in that business are right down near the bottom.
JIM LEHRER: Tell me about it.
DONALD RUMSFELD: You know that. Yeah, does it bother you?
JIM LEHRER: (laughter) Hey, I ask the questions here!
The rest of the interview is fantastic. Rumsfeld pointed out that the media tended to just issue a daily death toll instead of balancing the coverage with the clear successes in Iraq. Rumsfeld didn’t say that the media shouldn’t report the deaths, just that they should make sure they aren’t excluding the other news. Lehrer seemed quite defensive (“you’re not suggesting…”) as Rumsfeld made his point.
Lehrer quoted Congressman Murtha as evidence that some outside observers really do think it’s going bad in Iraq. The fact that he didn’t cite Sen. Joe Lieberman pretty much proves Rumsfeld’s point.