As someone who has been on the receiving end of media queries, I found “Taking Heat” by Ari Fleischer an interesting – if not riveting – read. Fleischer, the former press secretary of President George W. Bush, gives an insider’s look behind (a few of) the scenes of the White House and what it’s like to joust with the gotcha-driven, White House press corps.
Fleischer takes the media to task for its lack of ideological diversity, obsession with conflict and accentuation of the negative.
He recounts a visit by the president in 2003 to Dearborn, Michigan, home to a large Arab-American population that includes many Iraqis. The reception was loud, and it was friendly. Fleischer called it a “hero’s welcome.” The broadcast networks largely ignored it. ABC kissed it off with “two sentences,” notes Fleischer.
He recalls asking Terry Moran, ABC’s White House correspondent, why the speech received such nominal coverage.
Moran’s answer: “I couldn’t get it on the air. If they had booed him, it would have led the news.”