Instead of reporting on the event, "ace" reporterette Deb Riechmann (AP) broke the big, big story: the teleconference was *gasp* staged!
Either this reporter is an absolute rookie or she is incredibly biased. Has this woman ever covered Hillary Clinton - or heard of her "listening" tour?
Politicians often stage events. Obviously, you don't want some wacko asking Bush a question about the US Forest Service when he is taking time to talk to troops about the War on Terror. Another reason is that events need to be coordinated to overcome any difficulty that may arise. Imagine being the aide in charge of a global teleconference and something goes down - if you aren't ready to handle it, your butt will be in the unemployment office.
This inight, offered by White House press secretary was buried in the article, of course:
...Thursday's event was coordinated with the Defense Department but that the troops were expressing their own thoughts. With satellite feeds, coordination often is needed to overcome technological challenges, such as delays, he said.
"I think all they were doing was talking to the troops and letting them know what to expect," he said, adding that the president wanted to talk with troops on the ground who have firsthand knowledge about the situation.
The reporter nearly seemed surprised that the troops gave the prez an "upbeat" assessment of the war. Well, duh - if you are constantly looking for negatives to blast Bush, you obviously miss a lot of the positives. Talk to pretty much any military man or woman - they are proud of all the good things they have done.
Sure, the event was staged. All events are. But to focus on the arrangement is yet another example of media bias. The reporters can talk to the troops if they want to get the "real" answers...ooops...they have, but the troops won't give them the answers they want.
I guess the only thing left is to hype a non-story into a story.