Washington D.C. – Speaking to a gathering of the nation’s press today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld criticized the national media for portraying the Bush administration as being overly critical of the national media.
“Every time I open the paper, it’s deja vu. Same story each time: ‘Bush criticizes media for this,’ ‘Cheney criticizes media for that.’ I mean, golly, you’d think we were a bunch of complainers. Last week, the New York Times quotes me saying the media is ‘run by a bunch of backward nincompoops who can go take a flying leap into the Grand Canyon.’ Now, the way that story’s presented, it looks like I’m criticizing the news media for being incompetent. But if you read the whole transcript, get some context, you’ll see I’m actually saying that the news media is biased, complacent and ignorant of the facts. Incompetence is really just one piece of the puzzle here, but the way the Times fouled it up, you’d think it’s all I said.”
Rumsfeld then paused, shook his head solemnly and made a “tsk-tsk” sound. “I guess you people just can’t get anything right. I mean, what about puppies? Did anyone know that there was a record surge in the puppy birth rate last September? Too bad this story never reached the headlines because some journalists felt obliged to keep retreading some item about a storm in Louisiana. Is it just me, or is that a lot of attention to be devoting to the weather? I’m not complaining, just saying puppy owners of America would’ve appreciated it if you people had backed off the Katrina story a bit.”
Rumsfeld also criticized the media for exaggerating President Bush’s low approval ratings.
“It’s funny to me that the exaggerations all seem to go in one direction. If you rely on the mainstream media, you’d think that the President had an approval rating of only 34 percent. But if you read that figure from right to left, it says 43 percent. That’s a pretty big difference. People all over the world read things right to left, in Israel, in Japan. But over here you’d think it had never been done.”
Rumsfeld had little good to say about the coverage of Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent hunting accident.
“You’d think that was the only thing happening, the way it’s plastered all over page one,” said Rumsfeld, holding up a February copy of the Chicago Tribune. “But did you know that ‘ratiocinate’ is an 11-letter word for ‘to think hard.’ It says so right here in five across on the crossword puzzle. I didn’t know that. Did you know that? Did the American people know it? Now, I may be old fashioned, but if people don’t know something, to me that qualifies as news. Yet it’s buried right next to the comics section. Maybe it’s time to start putting the crossword on the front page where the public can see and judge for themselves.”
Rumsfeld then added, “If it would make you vultures happy we could compromise. You put the crossword on the front page every day then insert loaded words like ‘insurgent’ and ‘suicide bombing’ in there whenever it warms your twisted little hearts.”
Rumsfeld also frowned upon the uproar over the sale of national ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates.
“The UAE has been a staunch supporter in the war on terror and you people were on their backs like they were a bunch of criminals. Norway hasn’t sent a troupe to Iraq but they get to do anything they want. Look here on page D-27 of the San Francisco Chronicle. There’s a fascinating little pictorial on this hairy little Norwegian fellow who goes by the name Hagar the Horrible, who’s apparently launching an invasion against some unnamed country. Where’s that Viking ship going? I’d sure like to know, wouldn’t you? Talk about threats to national security. Yet, because the Norwegians are fancy Europeans, all we get from the media is three panels of lousy pen-and-ink drawings. Is this serious journalism?”
Rumsfeld summarized by stating that the key issue the media faces is one of priorities.
“You say that this administration has made some big mistakes in foreign and domestic policy? Well, it’s no wonder if you keep focusing on that stuff. You’d think reading the paper that the President had no duties other than to keep the American people free, safe and prosperous. That’s hard work! This is why for remainder of this administration’s stay in office, we’re going to leave the rest of the world alone, stick to a very narrow focus on sports and celebrity rumors.”
Secretary Rumsfeld then opened the floor to questions about whether Jennifer Anniston would ever truly be able to get over Brad.