Dan Froomkin of the WaPo reprints an exchange between White House Spokesperon Dana Perino and the genuine reporter (Compared to the rest of the White House press corps) Helen Thomas:
Thomas: "The American people are being asked to die and pay for this. And you're saying they have no say in this war?"
Perino: "No, I didn't say that Helen. But Helen, this president was elected --"
Thomas: "Well, what it amounts to is you saying we have no input at all."
Perino: "You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up. . . . "
Thomas: "Supposed to be a government for the people, of the people, by the people?"
Perino: "I would submit to you that people across America, if asked what type of a President do you want: one that stands on principle or that one that chases polls? And I think that they would want --"
Thomas: "What's the principle of going to war against the people who did nothing to us?"My question is: How many reporters knew in 2000 that this is what Bush's view of the office was, but chose to give him a pass anyway? Al Gore was described as a serial sigher and habitual exaggerator. "Gore was 'pandering' on [the Cuban boy] Elian [Gonzales], and Bush was not—though both held the exact same position." Completely normal conduct by the Bush and Gore campaigns were treated as stark, black-and-white opposites (See the final example in the referenced piece) by the Washington DC press corps.
Why were reporters in 2000 covering for Bush?