I fear we’ve lost a little context in the increasing focus on ABC’s Terry Moran lecturing Scott McClellan on how he’s not allowed to tell Newsweek what to do. Look at the transcript again. What’s odd is that Moran HIMSELF asks McClellan what the President would say that Newsweek should do: “Scott, you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the President want this American magazine to do?” When McClellan answers, then he turns on the outrage. It’s silly for Moran to insist presidents aren’t allowed to offer an opinion on how a media outlet could improve. It’s downright ridiculous to attack a presidential spokesman to offer advice right after you’ve asked him to offer advice.
McClellan: “Well, it’s what I talked about yesterday. This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report. And we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region. And I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled — or is handled with the utmost care and respect. And I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report — those that are opposed to the United States — some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence.”
Moran: “With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?”