Thursday, October 19, 2006

Listening in On Leaders

Now Putin is caught on tape making snide remarks about Israel's President. First, we had Condoleeza Rice. Second, we had Bush talking with his mouth full sputtering about Kofi Annan. Now, Putin.

According to published accounts by Agence France-Presse late Wednesday and Kommersant and The Jerusalem Post today, Mr. Putin was heard saying, “Say hello to your president,” to Mr. Olmert, referring to President Moshe Katsav, who could face criminal charges that he raped and assaulted two former employees. Mr. Putin added, “He really surprised us.” The microphone was quickly turned off as reporters were ushered from the room, but the news organizations reported that Mr. Putin went on.
The more insteresting note, here:

A month later outside St. Petersburg, President Bush spent four unscripted minutes on mike. He used a vulgarity in talking about Syria, bantered with world leaders and questioned the diplomatic efforts of Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, during Israel’s war in Lebanon.

Mr. Bush’s remarks were widely reported in the press here — in stark contrast to the coverage of Mr. Putin’s.

While these cast away remarks are no doubt amusing to reports wishing to "inform" everyone, does it not magnify another way the Media has cast off all restraint? What purpose does publishing these juicy tidbits serve? And what happens when a truly sensitive conversation gets broadcast?

Also note that the press has not widely reported Putin's remarks--just Bush's. One could argue that Bush is the more important public figure. My impression, however, is that any way Bush can be made to look bad will be broadcast far and wide. It's fun to hate Bush and portray him as an uncouthe cowboy.

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