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Clinton, Bush: Media is Now More Harsh
Media coverage of politicians had grown harsher, which could have a detrimental effect on future leaders, former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton told the CTIA wireless technology conference.
Increasingly there is an adversarial relationship between the press and politicians that, compared to his tenure, is “even tougher, uglier”, Bush, the 41st U.S. president and father of the current president said.
“I’ve never seen it quite as harsh, as mean, as it is right now for the president and for a lot of other people in public life,” said Bush.
Bush has previously accused the media of “personal animosity” toward his son.
Clinton said he and Bush had received their share of tough questions when they were in office, but cited a blurring of the lines between sensationalism and mainstream journalism. He added that a more even discussion of politics could come from Internet sites and Web blogs. He cited the tendency of blogs to scrutinize one or two subjects rather than a full plate of issues.
“They can do research and get the facts and don’t have to bad-mouth people. Sometimes they do, but they don’t have to,” Clinton said. “I think all these blog sites are creating a whole new opportunity for public debate that may revitalize our politics in an old fashioned way.”
Clinton and Bush lauded the role telecommunications and technology can play in improving healthcare, spreading individual freedoms and eradicating poverty.
As for personal technology, the former presidents said they were dedicated to using cell phones or wireless devices.
“The hour I’m here is about the longest I can be away from my Blackberry,” Bush said.
What do you think? Is the media climate too “harsh”? Do blogs add life to the public conversation or just create more noise?