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Ford Media Coverage

I have been in something of a media blackout zone for the past five days, but am now home and back under the influence of the American media. I turned the television on this morning when getting the kids ready for school to find it on NBC. I left it there to see the latest local weather report and got a taste of the national coverage as well.

From the coverage of the deaths of Ronald Reagan, and now Gerald Ford, I have learned that there are a few surefire ways for a Republican politician to get good coverage. One way is to disagree with a Republican -- extra points if that Republican is George W. Bush. Another way, as we saw with President Reagan, is to die. According to the interview I saw with Bob Woodward this morning, Ford disagreed with George W. Bush before he died. Since the disagreement was over Iraq, it received extra attention. Prior to the Woodward interview with Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, who was asked by President Ford to speak at his funeral, joined Tim Russert in a discussion of politics. In that discussion, the controversy over Saddam Hussein's execution preceded and led up to the discussion of the Ford funeral.

It seems somewhat, well, unseemly to me to be discussing current politics when honoring the life of a President who has yet to be buried. He was a politician though, and I suppose politics will be foremost in my mind when President Carter passes away so I guess I should not be overly critical of the media for taking an opportunity to turn the discussion of the life of President Ford to criticism of Bush. I can't help but point out, though, how unlike the discussion I heard this morning was from the style of President Ford, who was very dignified and who, unlike some other former presidents, did not use his position to score political points after leaving office.

While I won't be surprised to hear some additional talk of current politics worked into today's coverage of the former President's funeral, I hope that it will be kept to a minimum and that the focus will be on the life of Gerald R. Ford. When President Reagan died he was praised for his optimism. The praise for President Ford has included much discussion of his "Midwest values." There has also been a good bit of focus, as was intended by the arrangements made by President Ford, on his service in the Congress.

The U.S. Capitol departure ceremony is now underway with the family, as well as many friends of President Ford including Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Bob Dole, paying their respects. President Ford's children are escorting their father's casket as it leaves the Capitol. May God bless and comfort them.

Update: I loved former President Bush's eulogy, especially the part about God's hand of providence in letting Ford survive World War II and two assasination attempts so that he could be in place when he was needed to serve. Bush's handling of the Chevy Chase impersonation of Ford was well done, as well, pointing to how Ford's ability to laugh at himself helped him to laugh at his own SNL treatment. His impersonation of Dana Carvey was something I wouldn't be surprised to see make it into a replayed soundbite.

I missed Henry Kissinger, but caught Tom Brokaw's analogy of Ford's football position to his role in politics, which was fitting. President Bush gave a lovely eulogy as well.


Comments (21)

Woodward also gets intervie... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Woodward also gets interviews with people in comas, so now that Ford is dead and the context & meaning can't be explained by Ford, I don't put much value in the outcome of that interview.

I understand Ford's concern... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I understand Ford's concerns over Iraq were to be held in confidence until after his death. One cannot know whether he would have surmised that his comments would be aired before he was in the ground but he was around D.C. long enough to know the score. The Wellstone fuuneral was used for political theater and I feel this is a bit tame compared to that fiasco - it pays to be discreet. Of course, the Nixon pardon probably overshadows anything else Gerry Ford did during and post presidency. He has also not spent his post-presidential life on the national/international scene like Carter, Bush I and Clinton so his words may not carry the political weight of these other former presidents. How does the press balance what they consider Ford's extremely poor judgement in pardoning Nixon with the keen insight they seem to think he suddenly shows from afar regarding Iraq?

Lorie, it must be painful t... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Lorie, it must be painful to discover that even a former Republican President, Gerald Ford, easily recognized that Bush's Iraqi invasion is a castrophe, and a decision that he, Ford, would never had made.

In regard to having been absent from the "influence of the American media," I have no idea whether you were abroad or not, but, if you were and if there had been a media present, it would have been far harsher on Bush than the typical pap from the American media. Most people in the rest of the world find America under Bush to be a world catastrophe & are completely confounded by the choice of the American electorate.

In any event, I guess you must have spent 5 days beyond the reach of Fox News and were having propaganda withdrawl.

Although I never had much t... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Although I never had much thought over Pres. Ford one way or the other, I consider his criticizing anyone, and asking that it not be made public until after is death, to be a cowardly act. If you are not willing to be challenged over your your opinions, you shouldn't make them.

Repukelican,"Most pe... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Repukelican,
"Most people in the rest of the world find America under Bush to be a world catastrophe & are completely confounded by the choice of the American electorate." Could you elaborate please on what exactly makes the US currently a world catastrophe? Are there any particular countries you hold in particular esteem regarding their opinions of the American electorate.

Gerald Ford is entitled to his opinion. My guess, however, is that for the type of post-presidential life he chose for himself, he has probably been the least engaged, briefed, whatever of former living presidents. Quoting his opinion in this manner is a terrific opportunity because 1) the media holds the same opinion and 2) he's just died so no one is going to raise too much of a stink out of respect for Mr. Ford and his family. In this manner it certainly can be viewed as a tawdry political move.

I have not read or heard al... (Below threshold)
Lorie:

I have not read or heard all that Woodward has said because I was away from the computer and saw very little news at all over the past week, but did see enough to know that even by Woodward's account Ford's comments were more extensive than the characterization that is being made by many in the media that he was entirely critical of the effort in Iraq, much less that his statements fit the description in the comment above.

There is also the matter, of course, of the history of Bob Woodward's rather notorious deathbed (and comatose) interviews. He has also had more than a few instances of accounts of conversations between two or three people in which those involved in the conversations strongly refute the accuracy of his accounts. He broke Watergate though, so that pretty much cements his credibility in the eyes of the American media. He could be caught in hundreds of acts of bad reporting and still maintain his credibility among his peers -- at least as long as he is bashing Republicans. He almost lost it with that favorable book he did on Bush. He is currently earning back the adoration of the beltway cocktail crowd.

It is just sad that the focus of so much news I saw this morning was on Bush and Iraq, rather than on the life of Ford. Hopefully that was not the case all weekend. If it was then I am glad I didn't see it.

Something has been persiste... (Below threshold)
FrauBudgie:

Something has been persistently missed with all the eulogies and commentary.

Everyone has pointed out the Nixon pardon ... but nobody's pointing out that the other side of the "healing" happened when Ford extended Amnesty to the Vietnam draft dodgers who fled to Canada.

Of course, both actions probably doomed his next campaign -- libs were unbelieveably resentful of the Nixon pardon -- staunch conservatives hated the draft dodger Amnesty.

Ford was indeed a good guy, though. Imagine a politician making a decision without checking polls. Wish there were more like him today.

The other thing that's ignored is that folks keep saying that Ford's presidency was in the most divisive period of our history since the Civil War. I tend to disagree -- frankly, I think today's enviornment is more ascerbic.

I remember fondly Gerry For... (Below threshold)
baslimthecripple:

I remember fondly Gerry Ford and the Presidential muffin shortly after he acceded to the office. He was, however, little more than a speed bump slowing the leftward lurch of the nation at the time. That is why he was acceptable to democrats and why so little is really left in terms of a legacy beyond the pardon. He had no particular vision for the country, the office, or his party. He was comfortable workinhg with and losing to the dems from years in the House of Reps. Still, by comparision with Carter and Clinton, he wa a class act.

"Imagine a politician ma... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Imagine a politician making a decision without checking polls. Wish there were more like him today."

Are you suggesting President Bush is poll-conscious?

David D wanted an elaborati... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

David D wanted an elaboration in regard to the Bush regime beingregarded as a catastrophe.

Not long before our past election, according to polls taken in the UK, Canada, Mexico and Israel, large majorities of the people in those nations stated that they saw Bush as a greater threat to world peace than Ahmadinejad or Kim il Jong. In the UK bin Laden slightly outranked Bush as a greater threat to world peace.

In regard to Lorie's further reference to the extent of Ford's comments to Woodward about Bush and Iraq, Ford made it quite clear that he disagreed with what 2 of his proteges, Cheney & Rumsfeld had done with Bush/Iraqi policy as well as Bush himself.

And, Ford was explicit enough to take down each & every one of Bush's rationalizations for the Iraqi invasion. Ford's comments about the Bush/Iraqi policy were anything but tangential.

Lorie said: "He [Woo... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Lorie said: "He [Woodward] has also had more than a few instances of accounts of conversations between two or three people in which those involved in the conversations strongly refute the accuracy of his accounts."

The Washington Post had audio links you could listen to of the recordings made while Woorward interviewed Ford, and I checked a few of them and the Post's printed quotes matched the audio recordings verbatim.

for David D, a followup on ... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

for David D, a followup on world opinion about Bush and his war.

The interviews done with de... (Below threshold)
Florence Schmieg:

The interviews done with deFrancke of the NY Daily News show that Ford's opinion on Iraq is much more nuanced than that supposedly shown by Woodward. (Gosh that man is a sleazy weazel, not because of his opinions of Bush but of how he baits and switches and times things for his own good and notoreity. Then he pretends he is an upstanding journalist. Ugh!!) But those who have already made up their minds will grasp at whatever they need to support their position. Of course, when a few decades of history are allowed to pass and the person dies, a whole new rewrite and evaluation of their record ensues. Therefore all judgment of the Bush presidency is politics and ignorance at this point. Check back in 30 years.

Funny how the Mexicans thin... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Funny how the Mexicans think George Bush's America is a major threat to world peace, but they still all want to come here. That says more than any stupid poll.

One more thing. Why should ... (Below threshold)
Florence Schmieg:

One more thing. Why should we care so much about the opinions of those in Germany, France, Jordan, or wherever? They also think we are a decadent country due to the portrayal of our morals by Hollywood. Do you Dems worry about that opinion of us? Or are you exclusively worried only if it hurts Bush? In this country, there is no such thing as a President's war that does not belong to the entire country. Nor should there be. You Dems may not like it, but that is how it is. When Kenendy and Johnson were creating Vietnam for us, we all owned it. And has everyone conveniently forgotten about 9-11?? Bush has done everything he has because of 9-11. Agree with his choices or not as you choose. But it is ignorance beyond belief to forget what his motivation is-doing his best to protect this country as is his constitutional responsibility.

eRepukelican, I lift this s... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

eRepukelican, I lift this statement from your link:
"I'm quite confident that there's never been any period where you could find such high levels of negative feelings towards the U.S. in polling data," Kull told IPS, noting, however, that the combined polls do not yet show that a majority worldwide sees the U.S. as having a negative influence on the world.

So, whats your point? Based upon this statement it's still not a majority opinion worldwide. You choose to ignore majority opinion?????

Care to show us those audio... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Care to show us those audio links "pucker puss" (lee Lee)?

The audio links are on the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The audio links are on the Washington Post website, jhow66 -- ask one of the psych ward orderlies to help you find the website the next time it's your turn on the computer.

Don't forget your drool cup! You've shorted out three keyboards already....

Funny how the Mexicans t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Funny how the Mexicans think George Bush's America is a major threat to world peace, but they still all want to come here. That says more than any stupid poll.

That's gotta be one of the stupidest things I've read on here in a long time.

Didn't think you had any. O... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Didn't think you had any. Of coarse everyone knows you are a fraud anyway. Drip drip. Shucks there goes another one. Getting to you more all the time ain't I p'p'?

Brian-less--except when you write something.

I think it was Jimmy Carter... (Below threshold)
Brad:

I think it was Jimmy Carter who gave the draft dodgers amnesty, not Ford.

And anybody else a little sickened how the media now fawns over Ford but while he was president it lambasted him daily, considered him a boob, a fool, and a criminal for pardoning Nixon?

Respect is one thing, and fine, but to act as if they always considered Ford for sainthood is disengenuous.




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