This post by the beloved Atrios got the good Doctor thinking, and this is what he thought:
It's so typical. Bush has a plan on Social Security. Everyone paying attention knows that he has a plan, and has a fairly good idea of what his plan is. Which is why the MSM does not attack Bush for not having a plan, while attacking Dems for not having one. If they thought he didn't have a plan, they'd have to attack him too.
But there's a catch: Bush is being "coy" (read: dishonest) and is pretending to not have a plan. So not only do they pretend that Bush doesn't have a plan, they get to attack Dems for saying what Bush's plan will do (cut benefits and create huge deficits). This is the same strategy he used before the Iraq war, when he insisted that he hadn't decided on whether to attack, and stated that whenever journalists asked him about his war plans. Rather than be forced to answer the question, he insisted that he didn't have a plan and essentially punished the reporter for asking a question which implied that he did have a plan...even though he did and everyone knew it.
And the purpose of all this "plan" talk is obvious. The reason you want your opponent to give a plan is so you have something concrete to attack. So Bush acts "coy" (dishonest) about not having a plan so his opponents can't attack him (and will even be attacked for attacking his plan); while also demanding that the Dems put forth a plan...so he can attack it. And that's the reason he says he doesn't have a plan; so he can just bullshit and make his plan sound like anything he wants it to sound like. And he can only do this because the media KNOWS that Bush has a plan but is being "coy" about it. And the journalist-class loves coy. In fact, they love the whole crooked nature of Bush's strategy on this, and they reward him for it with deceptive news coverage, while feigning ignorance about everything.
And, of course, to even add to the stupidness is the fact that Democrats do have a plan. It's called Social Security. But Bush's "coy" rhetoric is designed to deny them the ability to claim that plan, which many journalists are probably aware of, but they just chalk it up to clever Bush tactics, rather than the crap that it really is.
In the end, the main problem is that our journalists, as a whole, are lazy and bored and they really just don't give a shit. It's all a game to them. They have nice pampered lives (in which Social Security is a drag on their retirement plans), and this is what they do for excitement. Press conferences are all about tricking the President or Press Secretary into saying something stupid, and if they're not tricky enough, they won't get the answer...even though they already KNOW the god damn answer, which is the whole basis for the tricky questions they ask. They know that Scott McClellan is bullshitting them, but unless they can trip McClellan into admitting it, they're not allowed to write about what they know.
And that's the way journalists want it. It's no longer about delivering the facts. It's all about the game used to obtain those facts. Good rhetoric and spin beat facts because that's the system that journalists respect. And the Republican leadership has known this for years. Our media gets played like fools and that's the exact way that they want it. Any idiot can report a fact, but it takes high-up connections to be spun. And the higher up the spinner is, the more prestige to the spinee.