Thursday, April 27, 2006

White House Watches the Wrong Channel


The White House Press Corps, for the first time, leaves me speechless:

Q It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied. My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: Never heard of any such thing. My TVs are on four
different channels at all times.

Q Because you have four different TVs. But every time I've ever been --

MR. McCLELLAN: Every TV in the White House also has channels every --
has a split screen, where they can --

Q Well, they always seem to be tuned to Fox, and there's been requests,
and these are paid for by taxpayer dollars. And my understanding is that
you guys have to watch Fox on Air Force One. Is that true?

MR. McCLELLAN: First time I've ever heard of it. First time you've
brought it to my attention, meaning the first time the press corps has
brought it to my attention. In fact, I've watched other channels on here.

Q There's one --

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, Jim, come on. I've watched other channels on
here, so I don't know where you're hearing that. But it's the first time
anyone in the press has raised that question with me.

Q You've watched other channels other than Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: On here, yes, sure.

Q I've never seen -- they're always turned to Fox, which a lot of people
consider a Republican-leaning network.

Q Scott, is it one -- on the airplane, is it one for all? I mean, if
it's tuned for Fox here, is it Fox everywhere?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that certain areas may be interconnected, but
I'll have to double-check which.

Q Is yours off, wherever you are?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the conference room, or the senior staff office,
the staff office, they're different TVs, and you can switch to different
channels. I'm not sure if some of these in the back are connected to
some of the others that are watching right here, right now. It doesn't
look like it to me. I've never known anyone that's raised a complaint
about a request from back here to watch a different channel.

Q I'm officially raising it and officially complaining about it.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'm going to go see if we can change the channel
for you. Have you called up?

Q I was the Fox victim, and I was told -- the quote was, "No," when I
asked for CNN.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know who you talked to, so -- it didn't come to
my attention. You don't know who you talked to either?

Q Well, the magic people at the other end off the phone.

MR. McCLELLAN: The magic people at the other end of the phone. Well,
I'll see if this cabin is --

Q I was told, "We don't watch CNN here, you can only watch Fox."

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, it's hard to respond to something when I don't
know who it is you talked to.

Q I used the phone back here.

MR. McCLELLAN: I find this all quite amusing, to tell you the truth. I
mean, there are a lot of people on this plane that do watch that channel.

Q I've never been told, no. They're such nice guys up there.

MR. McCLELLAN: First time you brought it to my attention. I'll go see
what we can do on it.

* * * * *

MR. McCLELLAN: We just called up. They're going to be changing it, at
your all's request, to the channel that you requested, which is CNN --
from the press corps.

Q Thanks, Scott.

Seriously, I simply don't know what to say.

UPDATE: Captain Ed does not suffer from my case of appalled silence. He offers this about Jim VandeHei, the reporter responsible for the hissyfit.

Bush appeared at a Habitat for Humanity construction project, visited a tent city to bolster the spirits of people clearing debris and also building houses, and put out a call for more volunteers to help restore the city. VandeHei, on the other hand, whined about the television programming in the cushy environs of Air Force One.

I wonder if Vandehei acts like this at home when his wife is watching Lifetime. Then again, I get the impression Vandehei probably likes Lifetime.

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