February 28, 2005

Putin Wonders Why Bush Fired Dan Rather

One of the interesting things about foreign governments is that they think we do things in the US just like they do. For instance, when President George W. Bush was elected the natural reaction of many in the world was to write this off as dynastic succession. After all, that is the way things are done in their country.


But when Bush talked about the Kremlin's crackdown on the media and explained that democracies require a free press, the Russian leader gave a rebuttal that left the President nonplussed. If the press was so free in the U.S., Putin asked, then why had those reporters at CBS lost their jobs? Bush was openmouthed. "Putin thought we'd fired Dan Rather," says a senior Administration official. "It was like something out of 1984."

The Russians did not let the matter drop. Later, during the leaders' joint press conference, one of the questioners Putin called on asked Bush about the very same firings, a coincidence the White House assumed had been orchestrated. The odd episode reinforced the Administration's view that Putin's impressions of America are often based on urban myths fed to him by ill-informed aides.

Hat tip Confederate Yankee who wonders if it was Oliver Willis who is advising Putin.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:15 PM | Comments |