OUR FARCICALLY DISAPPOINTING...

OUR FARCICALLY DISAPPOINTING PRESS CROPS. CnnprioritiesIf I were crafting a parody of the political media's decline, I could hardly construct a better set piece than today's reportage. A live mic at the G8 Summit caught Tony Blair and George Bush talking privately about the conflict in Lebanon. Given the relative opacity of Bush's thoughts on the situation, the frank discussion offered a fair amount of insight and a couple nuggets of news, including that he was going to send Condi to the region (or possibly the U.N. -- but she's going somewhere to deal with this), that he blamed neither Israel nor Lebanon for the violence, and that "the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

That's a big deal: Bush believes it within the Syrian government's power to calm the conflict. Theoretically, that should have major implications for American diplomacy and, possibly, policy. So what's CNN's headline? "Open mic catches Bush expletive on Mideast"! The story is not that his substantive views on the issue have been uncovered, but that the President curses. Indeed, the article even speculates on how such a stunner slipped out, arguing that "the escalating crisis in the Middle East prompted him to use an expletive in a conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair."

This is your press corps. The President has a potty mouth is a more pressing story than the President believes sufficient pressure on the sovereign nation of Syria could be the key to ending an intensely volatile war in the Middle East. What a proud day for my profession.

--Ezra Klein

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