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February 25, 2005
Slovakia PM: Media Bias Causes Bush Hatred In Europe

President Bush got a public vote of confidence and the European media a slap from Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda during Bush's so-called "charm offensive" barnstorming trip to Europe this week. The Washington Times reports that Dzurinda scolded the European media for their biased reporting on Bush that succeeded in poisoning Continental opinion against the American president:

"President Bush told me in Brussels: 'I am so unhappy that media creates the picture that Bush wants war in Iran. This is crazy,' " Mr. Dzurinda told a small group of reporters over lunch.

The prime minister was reminded that while the governments of Central and Eastern Europe supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, the populace was much more skeptical, according to polls.

Mr. Dzurinda responded by telling the journalists, including one from CNN, that he was "shocked" to see media outlets like CNN and the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) showing "only American soldiers killing people. But nobody was able to show Saddam Hussein, who killed many, many thousands of Iraqi people."

"It was impossible to see a real picture of this regime," he lamented. "And the result is the public is one day strongly against Bush. 'Bush loves war,' he's 'new terrorist,' and so on and so on."

The prime minister predicted that it is "only a question of time when people in Slovakia, in Germany, in European countries, will understand more that this activity were necessary. And the world, without Saddam Hussein, is much more democratic than before."

Slovakia remains one of the members of the multinational coalition providing security and assistance in Iraq. Despite the skepticism that the media reports, Bush got an overwhelming reception from Slovakians after extolling the benefits of democracy. He greeted the crowds directly for the first time during his trip, clearly delighted with the popular reception he received from the former Soviet province. Dzurinda reminded the media of this history of oppression in remarks intended on tweaking other European leaders who preferred continuing appeasement and black-market trade with Saddam instead of liberation and democracy:

"I spent many years under tyranny," he said. "So I completely understand what it means to fight for democracy -- don't take this for granted.

"Maybe this is why I understand better than Chirac or Schroeder," he added, referring to French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, both of whom opposed the Iraq war.

Mr. Dzurinda also faulted Mr. Chirac and Mr. Schroeder for not understanding Mr. Bush's decision to abandon diplomacy and invade Iraq.

"I understand, [with] the president of the United States, that this is impossible to wait forever," he said. "I hope that the German chancellor and French president understand more today than yesterday."

I rather doubt they would acknowledge it even if they do understand it. CNN and the BBC apparently won't acknowledge it, either. As if to affirm Dzurinda's words, neither service carries a single mention of his press conference and his criticism of the media. According to this Google on Dzurinda and Bush, not too many American media outlets have reported it either. The Boston Globe reports on Bush's reception but ignores Dzurinda's blunt words supporting Bush's policies and deriding the media. Most papers ran with an AP wire story that mentions neither Dzurinda's scolding or Bush's Slovakian reception -- but finds room to report on a handful of protestors instead of the thousands cheering Bush in Slovakia yesterday.

Mr. Dzurinda was more correct than he knows.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 25, 2005 6:20 AM

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