Mark Silva, national correspondent who covers the White House for the Chicago Tribune, essentially wrote a 750-worded epithet titled "Hard Times Wear on Bush," that sounded more in sync with the giving of "last rites" than what a national news correspondent would write.
Reporting about Bush's first formal news conference since May 31, Silva opens this way: "Stepping out from the Oval Office on an overcast morning, President Bush appeared browbeaten. He sounded wistful about his party's political fortunes and even his own."
"Browbeaten" and "wistful" being not nearly enough for Mr. Silva, he continues to pile-on with more negativity from events that have nothing to do with what the president called this formal news conference for, namely to talk about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers:
--"After nearly an hour of measured humility, with the president accepting blame for his administration's failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina..."
--"A deadly hurricane and devouring flood have undermined confidence in the government's readiness for catastrophe. And yet Bush shared his worries about a possible pandemic of avian flu and a massive quarantine of Americans."
--"The costs of recovery from Katrina have rivaled the expense of the unpopular war in Iraq. So here the president was speaking of "deeper" budget cuts, instead of costly repairs to Social Security or Medicare that he has long sought or the tax reform that he had promised."
Of course, what story from the the liberal Washington punditry would be complete--no matter what it was about--without the obligatory reference to Tom DeLay:
--"But the submissive body language reflected the fact that his party's capital is eroding with indictments of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay"
Or another media elite favorite, CIA agent Valerie Plame's supposed outing:
--"…and a nearly concluded probe of what role the White House may have played in revealing a CIA agent's identity. And here Bush was, dismissing concerns about the next presidential election."
Mr. Silva's two major lines, or finishing blows, in this story are comprised of six words, three words each. Each quote stands alone for obvious dramatic and theatrical appeal and intent.
The first is "Ebullience is gone." The second quote is "Party's capital eroding"
It may be me, but I saw the same conference as Mr. Silva, and I saw a determined and purposeful president who came there to talk of his new nominee for the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers. There was no funeral dirge sounding as Mr. Silva would have you believe.
But on that note, no one could ever accuse that the "ebullience" is gone from the old world media when reporting on President Bush. One could almost see Mr. Silva grinning impishly as he sat down and penned--what is to me--a recitation of wishful thinking on his part and his cohorts among the liberal media establishment.