White House Press Secretary No Longer Pressed on Iraq

As conditions in Iraq improve to the point where even adamant Iraq War opponents concede the surge has worked, the press seems less interested in questioning the Bush administration on the war. On the March 6 edition of "Fox and Friends," co-host Brian Kilmeade asked White House press secretary Dana Perino when she last received a question about Iraq. Perino responded that she does not remember "having sustained questions about Iraq...since probably early December," and added "I think that’s as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground."

Does the media only want to report the bad news in Iraq? A recent MRC study suggests just that, noting "their zeal for reporting on Iraq declined as the violence and casualties did." The MRC documented that the number of stories declined in 2007 from 178 in September, 108 in October, to 68 in November.

Kilmeade followed up questioning "do you think it’s simply because there’s progress in Iraq or is the election taking over? Do people not want to report the good news?" Perino felt "it could be a little bit of both," but quickly added "I think the good news is getting out there, actually."

The transcript is below.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Dana, when’s the last time you got a question about Iraq when you’re in the press briefing?

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don’t know if this is precise, but I don’t remember having sustained questions about Iraq, maybe there would be one off, but really since probably early December. And I think that’s as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground.

KILMEADE: Do you think it’s simply because there’s progress in Iraq or is it because the election is taking over? Do people not want to report good news?

PERINO: It could be a little bit of both. And I do think that we, I think the good news is getting out there, actually. I think that reporters that are on the ground in Iraq who are seeing for themselves what’s happening. They’re able to get that news out and so there’s not been a lot of controversy. We are heading into a conversation with Capitol Hill on funding for the troops. And we’re going, we need $108 billion that they’ve been waiting to act on. And we’re going to need that money fairly soon. So I expect that battle to start.