Is this good or bad?

I originally found it in the Early Bird, but for the benefit of those not having access, dug around for the original NY Times article on Google.

Troop Rise Aids Iraqis, Bush Says, Citing Bloggers:[quote]WASHINGTON, March 28 — President Bush has discovered bloggers. Iraqi bloggers.

Mr. Bush — a man not known for his love of the working press, and certainly no fan of anonymous quotes — cited two Iraqi bloggers on Wednesday in a speech asserting that his troop buildup, despite Congressional criticism and calls for withdrawal, was helping improve everyday life for Iraqis.

“I want to share with you how two Iraqi bloggers — they have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we’ve got here,” Mr. Bush told an audience of ranchers and cattlemen, after remarking that Iraqis were beginning to see “positive changes.”

He went on to quote the bloggers directly: “Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening. We feel safer about moving in the city now. Our people want to see this effort succeed. We hope the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve.” [/quote]

(For the curious, here is the transcript of President Bush's speech to National Cattlemen's Beef Association.)

So is this a good sign because of the actual news, that there are people in Baghdad who believe that things are getting better, or a bad sign because the President is somehow "reduced" to using weblogs to justify his position? No question which one the writer thinks, as after devoting the remainder of the article to the question of the webloggers' identities, she makes sure to throw in a snarky comment:[quote]In a footnote at the end, the administration disclosed that the bloggers were Omar and Mohammed Fadhil, two brothers who are both dentists and who write an English-language blog, IraqTheModel.com, from Baghdad. The White House said their writings had been cited in mainstream news outlets; on March 5, the Fadhil brothers wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal titled “Notes from Baghdad.”

Oh, yes, and on Dec. 9, 2004, they met in the Oval Office with Mr. Bush.[/quote]

I'm confused. Is this a real-news-vs.-silly-blogs sort of thing? Half of the article is devoted to questions about the identity and credibility of the sources, after all. Or is it purely a political thing, with the not-so-subtle insinuation that these guys are in cahoots with our Commander in Chief to make things look better than they are? Either way, I expect my slanted media to be more circumspect in their biases.

Can you really call this news? Apparently the NY Times isn't sure, either; I found the article in question under the political news section--and the political commentary blog.

Sig