Meet The Zampolit

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Drudge reports that during an interview with Colin Powell, Just as Meet The Press's Tim Russert asked a hard question on Powell's U.N. Briefing last year, the camera was adruptly shifted off into the distance by Powell's press aide who thought the interview was going too long.

Begin Transcript excerpt

TIM RUSSERT: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein, citing.

(Camera moved off of interview subject)



EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: No. They can't use it, they're editing it.

SECRETARY POWELL: He's still asking the questions.


SECRETARY POWELL: Tim, I am sorry I lost you.

MR. RUSSERT: I am right here Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

EMILY MILLER, PRESS AIDE: He was going to go for another five minutes.

SECRETARY POWELL: We've really scre...

MR. RUSSERT: I think that was one of your staff Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

SECRETARY POWELL: Emily, get out of the way. Bring the camera back please. (Camera returns to the interview subject) I think we're back on Tim, go ahead with your last question.

MR. RUSSERT: Thank you very much, sir.

End Transcript excerpt

Powell then answered the question.

Surely this was just some sort of silly little mistake but the conspiracy theorist in me asks why did Meet The Press decide to air the incident unedited? Is it possible that they did to bring attention to the way members of the bush administration are handled?

I have long noted that this administration cannot take a bathroom break without worrying about how it will be handled politically. No matter what the subject, their focus is on image and PR first and foremost. I've even gone so far as to ask, mostly in jest, whether one day we may see something like the Russian "zampolit", or political officer, stationed in our military units. So was this a dumb mistake or was it a press officer who was acting in the interest of the party to fend off a difficult question?

I like Powell. I always have, and I'd like to point out that, to his credit, you can tell in the transcript and see in the video clip that he was pissed off that this happened. I dunno, I know how Powell doesn't really fit in with this administration and the conspiracy theorist in me just tells me that his aide did this for a reason.



Make up your own mind about this one. When I think about it I hear "nutty conspiracy theory" ringing through my head. I just wanted to give out a little more information on it.

The clip was shown on the local news and I've read the full transcript at MSNBC. Of note is what Russert said after the interview:

Russert: And that was an unedited interview with the secretary of state taped earlier this morning from Jordan. We appreciate Secretary Powell's willingness to overrule his press aide's attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion as I began to ask my final question.

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