Bryan Smith responds to the Poynter Institute: Did I read this quote from Elisabeth Bumiller correctly? Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times White House correspondent, on criticism that reporters were too easy on Bush on the eve of the Iraq war: "I think we were very deferential because ... it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time." This is a joke, right? The White House correspondent from the New York Times didn't ask a tough question because the atmosphere was too "frightening"? Has there been a more tacit and, yes, frightening, admission by a reporter -- from the nation's most important newspaper no less -- that the national press is cowed by this administration? Is there any stronger inducement for its continued bullying?


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