What happened when Bush spoke at Ft. Benning?

In a post on the WSJ.com, picked up by rightwing "watchdogs" Newsbusters, James Taranto spies conflicting reports of Bush's January 11th speech: "Are There Two Different Fort Bennings?"

An AP report says Bush was "cheered" (the reason for speaking at a military base) while the NY Times calls the base "subdued."


(By the way, the WaPo corroborates the "subdued" characterization, calling it a "quiet response.")

Of course, the problem with this meme, aside from the fact that it rests on a flabby book by a lonely conservative, is that the lib'rul portion of the media is a somewhat squirrely entity. As in: the AP was the target just a few short weeks ago. Until the right got burned -- severely -- on that one.

So now the AP's the good guys. But wait! Not so fast, the AP seems to have produced two reports from that one speech. The other makes no mention of cheering or not cheering.

But let's put aside the question over whether Bush was cheered or not cheered, what constitutes a cheer, are they waves or particles? etc, and focus on the element of the story obscured by what does appear to be a reporting problem on the AP's part.

The fact that, as NPR reported, "After the president's speech, the commanding general barred soldiers from talking to reporters."

Cheering may -- MAY -- have a subjective quality to it.

Cowardice, less so. Bush is too scared to listen to the soldiers he commands. And that speaks volumes.

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