March 11, 2009
Media Training 101

Aside from being a classic TV exchange, period, Ari Fleischer's appearance on Hardball below is a case study in how to maintain your cool, stay on message, and refuse to be thrown off-kilter by an incredulous, hostile questioner:

P.S. I'm not sure which part of the exchange I enjoyed more, Fleischer's periodic barbs back at Matthews (eliciting laughter from someone off camera) or Matthews's Al Gore-like sighs in the background while listening to his guest.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 11, 2009 05:28 PM | Email This
1. I always did like Ari when he was press secretary.

Posted by: Michele on March 11, 2009 05:47 PM
2. That was fun to watch Chris getting battered!!

Posted by: Tim on March 11, 2009 05:51 PM
3. Watching Ari defend George Bush game me a thrill up my leg.

Posted by: diamondshards on March 11, 2009 06:01 PM
4. GAVE me a thrill......

Posted by: diamondshards on March 11, 2009 06:05 PM
5. I've rarely seen someone dismantle an obviously outsmarted Chris Matthews with such ease. I especially liked the way Ari would call out Matthews on his lies, distortions and generally interuptive behavior and still did not get sidetracked from his message. Bravo!, sir.

Posted by: Rick D. on March 11, 2009 06:05 PM
6. Ari needs, WE NEED ARI to conduct seminars in how to stand up for truthful and responsible political reporting.
All he did was stood his ground, corrected his host when he lied, and didn't let the leg wetter roll over him, and Crissy was floored - not to mention extremely disrespectful to a guest that, as Ari had to remind him, he invited him!
After watching McCain, O'Rielly, Hannity, and so many others consumed with themselves cede critical points to their "hosts" because they don't want to come across as being agressive &/or haven't done any of their own research, this was a breath of fresh air that I truly enjoyed...Crissy having Ari repeat himself when he said "Look Who's Talking!" was obvious no one had ever said that to him, or else he'd know it was 4 times as funny the second time Ari said it and Crissy didn't have an excuse!
Thanks, Eric, this made my day.

Posted by: 4woodenboats on March 11, 2009 07:18 PM
7. Thanks, Eric. We need more articulate, assertive spokesman like Ari Fleischer. A timely reminder of the need to press the case with facts and not be bullied by the likes of Chris Matthews.

Posted by: Richard Davis on March 11, 2009 07:57 PM
8. @8 No Facts - just FOAD already. Enough of your lies.

Posted by: Crusader on March 11, 2009 08:41 PM
9. Ari Fleisher - the bush liar-in-chief is the new hero of the right wing demagogues. How funny.

I love it when Ari goes into lying mode: Getting rid of Saddam made the world safer....NOT. Has Ari even paid attention to Afghanistan? to the havoc wreaked in Iraq? To the nuclear ambitions of Iran that bush slept through (yeah, they talked a lot but did they actually do anything to stop Iran...NO).

Why has the security of the world collapsed since the unnecessary war in Iraq where we lied to the rest of the world and alienated our own allies? Maybe the election of Hamas, the Iranian hard-liners and nuclear ambitions, the victory in Afghanistan turned into total and utter failure and on and on...all show that getting rid of Saddam worked...but any objective observer would have to say that what Ari said was one big lie.

As facts above (@8) said so eloquently, when you scream mushroom cloud and are wrong...will anyone listen to you cry wolf for Iran? Is it any wonder the rest of the world no longer trusts us after the lying Bush and his lying press secretary?

Posted by: correctnotright on March 11, 2009 09:11 PM
10. I don't think the Bush presidency ever recovered from the loss of Ari. Tony Snow was almost as good, but by that time the MSM had too much momentum. If there was one thing that consistently frustrated me it was the way Bush was unable to effectively defend his presidency. I don't know if it was because he didn't have the stomach for that kind of fight, if the press wouldn't get out his message, or if his spokespeople like Scott McClellan. Regardless of the fink he turned in to, when he was DOING the job he just wasn't very good. But Bush's unwillingness or inability to fight back substantially lowered my estimation of his presidency.


Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 11, 2009 09:31 PM
11. Sorry, unfinished sentence.

or if his spokespeople like Scott McClellan just weren't up to the job.


Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 11, 2009 09:34 PM
12. Quote: "The issue was and I believe this still today...that after September 11, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam might not strike again." -- Ari Fleisher.

Who can tell me what's wrong with that statement?

Posted by: Timothy on March 11, 2009 09:37 PM
13. Matthews isn't a journalist- he's a water carrying hack.

RIP Russert.

Posted by: Andy on March 11, 2009 09:55 PM
14. Wow, I haven't seen Hardball in a few years, but after watching that clip it's clear to me that Matthews has really fallen off the deep end. What happened to him?

Posted by: Smoley on March 11, 2009 10:47 PM
15. Hmmm ... and where exactly is the ever irrelevant Chris 'Tingle'?

TUES., MARCH 10, 2009

FOXNEWS BECK 2,331,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 2,044,000
CNN COOPER 1,214,000
CNN KING 1,185,000
MSNBC MADDOW 1,041,000

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 11, 2009 10:48 PM
16. Matthews lives a shallow protected life. Ari Flesicher took him to pieces, which wasn't too hard.

The talking points are clear, focus on something ... anything but Obama's spending.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 11, 2009 10:48 PM
17. The talking points are clear, focus on something ... anything but Obama's spending.


There is a stimulus bill of $787 billion, an appropriations bill of $410 billion, a housing bailout bill of $275 billion, and the Prophet Obama's colossal budget, promising $3.55 trillion of expenditures (including a $634 billion "down payment" on health care reform).
Under the Prophet, federal expenditures will soar to 27.7 percent of GDP. That is the highest rate of expenditure since 1945. The deficit will hit $1.7 trillion this year and, after a brief decline, rise above $700 billion. His budget contemplates a recovery, but in 2010, spending still will be in the range of 24.1 percent of GDP. Moreover, he will raise taxes and cut the military back.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 11, 2009 10:53 PM
18. Timothy (#13):
The hostile interview was wrapping up. It was necessary to be succinct, and in that context, Ari misspoke. Obviously Saddam was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks, but Ari was trying to make the argument that Saddam Hussein would have tried to attack us with WMD, at some point. After all, among other acts of belligerence, the Iraqis were shooting at our planes regularly (the ones trying to enforce the UN no-fly zones) and Hussein had previously used WMD against the Iranians and even against his own people. At the time, everyone thought Hussein had both the desire and the ability to attack us with WMD, which is why the Senate (Hillary Clinton included) voted to authorize the war in Iraq. If Ari had another moment in the interview, he would have corrected himself, to make it understood that the Bush administration never believed Saddam Hussein attacked the US on 9/11.
This verbal gaffe will undoubtedly be used by loonies on the left as a "gotcha" soundbite.

Posted by: Tim B. on March 11, 2009 10:57 PM
19. Btw, Chris Matthews is an extremely poor interviewer, as he interrupts almost non-stop and talks over someone he just asked a question of. Pathetic. No wonder his ratings are in the tank.

Posted by: Michele on March 12, 2009 12:00 AM
20. Tim B @20....Ari Fleisher did not misspeak. Saddam Hussein had a hijacking training facility at Salman Pak, a special weapon facility in Iraq. There were Airline fuselages for the purpose of such training. It is purported that the hijackers used those facilities for their training. So, in that respect, Saddam certainly did share the responsibility of the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by: Daniel on March 12, 2009 12:10 AM
21. I love this new tactic from the Bushies...

1. Ignore the fact that 9/11 happened on their watch (Ari, you had been in office for 8 months when 9/11 occurred)
2. Ignore the existence of the infamous "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US" briefing document that was put in Bush's hands weeks before 9/11.
3. State that Bush kept us safe from terrorist attacks after 9/11, despite the still-unsolved anthrax attacks.
4. Be a jerk when brought to task for your obvious, repeated and grossly negligent failures.

These people should be publicly shamed whenever possible.

The Bush legacy...

Allowed the biggest terror attack on USA soil.
Allowed followup terror attack on USA soil.
Manufactured reasons to start war.
Crashed economy.

Way. To. Go.

Posted by: Hairball1 on March 12, 2009 03:36 AM
22. TimB @20...The Bush Administration was frequently conflating Saddam and 9/11. It was shameful than, and remains so today. The talking points on Saddam have become so embedded in Ari Fleischer that I don't believe he simply mispoke, I think he's now unable to be rational about the point.

The threat of Saddam was greatly exagerated prior to the war in Iraq, and the "spin" is continuing to conflate two unrelated events. To wit, just look at the completely unfound response of Daniel @22.

Ari was gearing up to say what he said on the way out of that interview. It's in his cognitive interest to quell the nagging doubts, to continue to conflate Saddam and 9/11. Nobody wants to own up to over-cooking evidence and manufacturing an unnecessary and ill-fated war. He needs to believe that what they did was noble and right, and keeping 9/11 and Saddam close is their version of doing just that.

In the end, Ari Fleischer was advocating in the strongest terms possible for pre-emption. Pre-emption is a morally bankrupt foriegn policy, and will not lead to a safer United States. The removal of Saddam has not made the United States safer.

I'll grant that Chris Matthews could have handled the interview better, and that he likely made an error in attributing the word "dishonest" to Fleischer instead of the word "wrong." But, the absurdity of the positions Fleischer was taking was breathtaking, and I suspect the degree of that caught Matthews offguard.

Good luck with that legacy building, Mr. Fleischer. It looks now and will increasingly be shown to be vacuous.

Posted by: Timothy on March 12, 2009 05:02 AM
23. "We all know how pathetic of job the lying piece of slime did as president. There is not enough lipstick in the universe for that pig. And the world knows it. As far as Saddam is concerned." ~ some troll above

You must mean the impeached (for lying) former president Clinton and other Democrats then:

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998
"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998
"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002

There's plenty more, but you get the idea.

Years after leaving his post, Ari Fleischer is still giving novices that fancy themselves as a "reporter", a verbal beatdown with the facts as they are, and not as they're perceived.

Posted by: Rick D. on March 12, 2009 05:43 AM
24. Bottom-line, despite all of the troll rhetoric herein on this topic: Ari = 1 Chris = 0.
Know it hurts, but live with it.

Posted by: Simon on March 12, 2009 07:10 AM
25. #29 Wishful thinking on your part, I'm sure but you're delusional if you think that'll happen.

For your 'justice' fix, you'll have to settle for Madoff pleading guilty this a.m. as we speak.

Posted by: Simon on March 12, 2009 07:45 AM
26. I noticed Chrissy talked first person a few times the way he said "we inheirited..." Those are the same words BHO uses to blame W. So is Chrissy part of the administration? If he's cheating on his taxes, well we know for sure then.

Posted by: PC on March 12, 2009 07:49 AM
27. It is one thing to say, as Clinton et al did, that Saddam is seeking WMD and is dangerous, and therefore, we should maintain international scrutiny on him and be ever vigilant. It is quite another to state that Saddam is very close to having Nuclear weapons and that we need to go to war NOW! or else.

If Clinton or anyone on the left had proposed the Bush doctrine (shoot now, ask questions later) the Right would be outraged. If you are so wedded to winning this argument that you can't see the problems of the Bush doctrine or acknowledge the damage done, then you need to spend some time in reflection.

Posted by: Timothy on March 12, 2009 08:22 AM
28. More bad news for Obama.

The FBI is serving a search warrant at the office of D.C.'s Chief Technology Officer, WTOP has learned.

"We are there as part of a continuing ongoing criminal investigation," FBI Washington Field Office spokesperson Katherine Schweit tells WTOP.

Schweit would not comment on the details of the investigation.

There are at least a dozen FBI agents - including evidence technicians - at the office, located at 1 Judiciary Square on 4th Street in Northwest, WTOP's Mark Segraves reports.

Most of the employees have been told to go home. Other employees have been segregated into a waiting room.

A spokesman for D.C.'s U.S. Attorney tells WTOP he cannot discuss the investigation, as it is currently sealed.

On March 5, President Barack Obama named D.C. Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra as the federal government's chief information officer.

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 12, 2009 08:32 AM
29. @34 No Facts - no WE in Sound Politic are the real Americans. You are a POS traitor.

Posted by: Crusader on March 12, 2009 08:58 AM
30. Smoley, I, too, wondered about Matthews. If I recall, he had a half hour show which expanded to one hour when Grodin didn't want to do the OJ trial everyday.

He was great for about six years and I liked his interviews. About the time his former buddy McCain got ousted from the primaries in lieu of Bush, I began to see the change.

It seemed that the change occurred because his elitist cocktail Democrat buddies began to corner him at parties and asked him if he were a Republican. Matthews was a D and a former aide to the Tipper (as in O'Neill not Gore). So, he started changing.

It was downhill from there.

Posted by: swatter on March 12, 2009 09:11 AM
31. Clintoon had his talking heads out on Sunday shows out "preparing the country for war" against saddam way back in 1997. The only reason he didn't follow through was that-
A: he was a lame duck president,
B: it was dicovered that he used a White house intern as a humidor and other more sordid activities.
C: When caught lying about his infidelity with the intern, was then in the process of being impeached for perjuring himself during a legal deposition and obstruction of justice.

This constant drum beat of whining on the left is a disingenous attempt to blur the facts as they were/are at the time. No matter how much bobbleheads like 'sniff' Matthews and the MSNBC clowns would like to alter this reality, they can't and it doesn't. inre the video: Ari might as well have been playing "whack-a-mole" with Matthews' giant noggin.

Posted by: Rick D. on March 12, 2009 09:20 AM
32. I just watched the first 45 secs of the video, and had to turn it off. Matthews is a rude, disgusting pig. His mother failed.

Posted by: Crusader on March 12, 2009 10:16 AM
33. BTW, Chris Matthews is so into rimming Obama that he's lost his tongue in there.

Posted by: Crusader on March 12, 2009 10:22 AM
34. Re Factless@26

Not even Team Obama can forestall unpleasant reality. And among those America now faces is Mr. Obama adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, eclipsing the $2.9 trillion added during the Bush presidency's entire eight years.
Another reality is that Mr. Obama's fiscal house is built on gimmicks. For example, it assumes the cost of the surge in Iraq will extend for a decade. This brazenly dishonest trick was done to create phony savings down the line.
Mr. Obama's budget downplays some programs' true cost. For example, his vaunted new college access program is funded for five years and then disappears (on paper); the children's health insurance program drops (on paper) from $12.4 billion in 2013 to $700 million the next year. Neither will happen; the costs of both will be much higher and so will the deficits.
Mr. Obama's budget also assumes the economy declines 41% less this year and grows 52% more next year and 38% more the year after than is estimated by the Blue Chip consensus (a collection of estimates by leading economists traditionally used by federal budget crunchers). If Mr. Obama used the consensus forecasts for growth rather than his own rosy scenarios, his budget would be $758 billion more in the red over the next five years.
Then there's discretionary domestic spending, which grows over the next two years by $238 billion, the fastest increase ever recorded. Mr. Obama pledges it will then be cut in real terms for the next nine years. That's simply not credible.
Then there's his omnibus spending bill $410,000,000,000.00 to fund the government for the next six months, laden with 8,500 earmarks and tens of billions in additional spending above the current budget. What happened to pledges for earmark reform and making "meaningful cuts?"

Yes sweetcheeks, those are known as FACTS.

Re 34: ADD to that Bronx Prosecutors Investigating Obama Appointee


Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 12, 2009 12:17 PM
35. Ack! RE: Bronx Prosecutors Investigating Obama Appointee... Missing link!

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 12, 2009 12:22 PM
36. Obama Earns an F for Economic Policy - Francis Cianfrocca, The New Ledger
Obama couldn't be doing more to destroy business confidence if that's what he had intentionally set out to do, and frankly, it's hard not to get the impression that this is indeed the case. Certainly Obama has done nothing to suggest otherwise.

Bottom line: Obama wants to go on a massive government spending spree. But he's working as hard as he can to destroy the means that will make the spending spree possible. He earns an F for economic policy.

NOTE: At the bottom of the article is a widget where YOU can grade the toddler. So far, his "Average Overall Grade" is an impressive [/sarcasm] D

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 12, 2009 12:30 PM
37. factless, nice try. As Americans, we are part of it, not left it for Benito H Obama. Matthews must cause a tingling in your legs too.

Posted by: Pc on March 12, 2009 01:25 PM
38. Liberal translation moment:
"#17 As far as the viewers you were referring to, if you don't count people in rest homes, Olbermann, Matthews, and Maddow now have close to as many viewers as the Fox Propaganda Network's nightly liars, and now beat CNN.

Amazing. All that truth stuff....."


"If we cherry pick the stats to exclude enough people, I can *ALMOST* say my guys beat your guys."

Posted by: Hannitywannabe on March 12, 2009 06:07 PM
39. You don't have to be a "target demographic" to cast a vote.

In any event, again, congratulations on ALMOST "winning" when you exclude that demo. *golfclap*

Posted by: Hannitywannabe on March 12, 2009 09:40 PM
40. Factless wrote:
When Obama took office, ... he was handed a trillion dollar deficit.

Citation, please? After all, you're the one claiming others are making numbers up. So put up yourself.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 12, 2009 10:20 PM
41. Factless,

Nice try, you Marxist... The deficit was $421 billion PER YOUR OWN ARTICLE. Hoisted on your own petard, as they say!

This multi-trillion dollar deficit is SOLELY the blame of you Slavers and your Obamassiah. Try as you might, you can't get out from under it.


Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 12, 2009 10:53 PM
42. Ari Fleischer for President

Posted by: MyTurn on March 13, 2009 09:20 AM
43. Did you notice how Matthews several times said "we" when referring to the Democrat party? He's obviously a mouthpiece for the far left.
He also said "we don't agree with that kind of thinking in this country anymore" referring to Bush's policy of not waiting to be attacked before we act. Let's see how long "we" keep thinking like Chris Matthews when a major US City is exterminated by a terrorist nuke. Matthews is riding high now, which will make it that much more satisfying when Obama's policies fail miserably, as "we" know they will because the same policies NEVER worked in the past.

Posted by: scott on March 13, 2009 09:51 AM
44. >Why pay Americans when we can pay
>a 12 year old in China $2 a day to
>make the same widgets right?
If the job is so simple that a 12 year old can do it, how can you justify paying an American union member $15 an hour plus benefits.
My suggestion, open up a business and overpay your employees. Then tell me how it works out for you.

Posted by: Bozak on March 13, 2009 10:43 AM
45. God bless Ari! I wish that he had stayed with the Bush administration longer...Chris Matthews is a piece of work. I don't know why he bothers having guests on the show. He asks them a question then proceeds to answer it for them. For shame. I'm proud that Ari called him on his rudeness and twisting of words....somebody had to.

Posted by: RitaSV on March 13, 2009 11:32 AM
46. #15 All Facts: says "To "respect" Ari for his talent would be like respecting Eichmann for making Adolf's trains run on time".

Now there you liberals go again, calling Republicans Nazis. Ask Israel who supports them better, Obama or the GOP?

While we're doing the name calling, why don't you Marxists just leave the country, (the EU would love to have you); and we can have our country back!

Posted by: scott on March 13, 2009 12:57 PM
47. Wonderful Factless, wonderful! When shown to be lying - yet again - you resort to insults and attempts to change the subject.

Admit it - you made a claim, were called on it, and your "citation" refuted your own claim. You've been shown to be a fraud YET AGAIN.

Factless, you and the rest of your Slaver Party ilk really never change, do you...


Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 13, 2009 05:29 PM
48. I wish Ari would have smacked down "the tingle up my leg" Mathew's on the 9/11 attack..typical liberal trying to rewrite history,9/11 was a direct result of Clinton's inability to keep America safe ..9 terrorist attacks on US interests and the 8 years of planning 9/11...which by Comrade Obama's plans so far we are a path of repeating longer called "enemy combatives" Liberals(communists) are dhimmi appeasers...

Posted by: Hellpig on March 14, 2009 11:25 AM
49. I'll be waiting for the paean to Lanny Davis for pulling the same kind of BS the next time he's on the teevee.

Posted by: Quincy on March 16, 2009 10:00 PM
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