Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Goyal The Foil Strikes Again

Reading the transcript of today's White House press conference, the following exchange caught my attention.
Q Tony, two questions. One, there is disturbing news, and the Indian American community is very angry that Senator Obama and his campaign has been calling the Indian American community taboo and other names, calling names, and all that because of the relations with the Clinton's, President Clinton and Hillary Clinton. My question is, how does -- what does President think about the Indian American community and his relations with the Indian American community?
This question is doubly offensive, because the questioner attacks Senator Obama quite unfairly while lobbing a big fat softball with no apparent journalistic purpose over the heart of the plate for Tony Snow to swing away at. In fact when I first read the transcript I thought that questioner must be the Fox or Washington Times correspondent... because who else would attack Senator Obama while lobbing a puff question to Snow? Well the questioners 2nd try at the 2 part question quickly dispelled my initial impression of the outlet the questioner may report for:
Q Second, just on Sunday I was in Washington, here at the Verizon Center, over 20,000 Indians, mostly Hindu, gathered together there. And their message was peace and unity, internationally and here also. The question is here that President has gone to all the denominations here, but never to a Hindu temple. And he goes to church, I go to temple, but he is a religious man, so am I. What my question is that this weekend --

MR. SNOW: You want to know if he's going to go to the temple?

Q This weekend there is a grand opening of Hindu temple in Adelphi, right on the beltway, if he can make it there sometime or --

MR. SNOW: I don't think that's on the schedule, and I think you do appreciate, Goyal, that Presidents don't do casual drop-bys.
Evidently the questioner is not only unfair, but he's intensely ignorant. We KNOW the President isn't going to the opening of the Indian temple because they aren't part of his evangelical base. Maybe if Indian Hindus comprised a significant voting bloc in the Republican party the President would deign to do a teleconference... In fact the opening of the Temple is far more likely to be attended by Obama, or any of the other Democratic candidates than by George Bush.

As I read this, I found myself wanting to find the identity and purpose of this reporter. We have several clues here as to the identity of the questioner. He is obviously very concerned with Indian affairs. He is also concerned with issues regarding Hinduism. Thus we can rest assured that Fox Noise and the Washington Times are not the ones paying him. Finally, we have Tony Snow referring to him as "Goyal". Time to warm up the Google browser and take it for a spin! Searching for "Goyal white house press" in google gives about 67,000 results. Quickly perusing the initial results, one can not help but notice the repeated use of the term "Goyal the foil".

Raghubir Goyal of the India Globe has earned the name Goyal the foil because of years of behavior which have caused him the enmity of the press corps, but the favor of the various press secretary's. When the unfortunate press secretary has had enough of a particular line of questioning, Goyal can be counted upon to ask a question on Indian or Pakistani affairs. This has been going on since the Lewinsky scandal... when Mike McCurry could take a bit of a rest from hostile press questioning by calling on Goyal the foil.

It seems that Goyal is a long long time member of the White House press corps who works for a "local tabloid" named the India Globe. The reason I have quotes around local tabloid is because doing a google search for that paper will not yield any pertinent results. I did find one site which was under construction which I believe may be for the paper which Goyal reports for, but who is to say. I must say that for a member of the White House press corps to be reporting for a paper which does not have a web site is quite telling. Maybe they do have a website... but finding it is nearly impossible. But I have digressed... as is typical.

So not only if Goyal out there making life easier for these habitual liars, but now he has unfairly tarred Senator Obama. Now don't get me wrong here. The Obama staffer who sent that letter on Clinton and Indians deserved to be slapped around a bit by Obama. In no way should this post be construed as an attack on Indians or denigrating to affairs that they are concerned with. In fact what I'm about to say is, I think, helpful for them.

It does Indians and Hindu's no good to have a single minded, absurdly out of touch correspondent for an unknown local tabloid bringing up their affairs every time the White House press secretary needs a break. Especially when that reporter is going to start unfairly attacking Presidential candidates, who have vast reserves of popularity compared to the public perception enjoyed by Bush. I understand if Obama is a bit wary of the issue right now, but I'd love to see him take it to Goyal over this unfair attack. Or even better, demonstrate some deserved respect for Hinduism by attending the temple opening, and then calling out this Goyal character and making him get his facts straight.

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