From American Progress:
ADMINISTRATION - SOLDIERS BARRED FROM TALKING TO MEDIA AFTER BUSH'S SPEECH:
A day after President Bush announced an escalation plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq, he spoke to 300 soldiers in a "teary-eyed" address at Fort Benning, GA. The Washington Post notes that the White House chose Ft. Benning hoping for "an unreservedly enthusiastic reception" to the President's speech, since military bases have usually been "reliable backdrop[s] for the White House."
But instead, soldiers gave him only a "quiet response." The Los Angeles Times added that he "received a less enthusiastic reception than has been the case on his past visits to military bases to promote his Iraq policy" and the New York Times observed that the soldiers "clapped politely but showed little of the wild enthusiasm that they ordinarily shower on the commander in chief."
Additionally, reporters were prohibited from talking to the soldiers -- many of whom will be deploying to Iraq soon -- after the speech, to "ensure that there would be no discordant notes."
Wall Street Journal reporter Yochi Dreazen wrote that "reporters were shooed out of the dining hall by White House aides and public-affairs personnel from the military base, who said that soldiers were now off-limits to the media." Only hours later, after "an angry confrontation with both White House and Fort Benning media-affairs personnel," did the base offer to make a "small number" of selected soldiers available.
Reporters, however, had to skip the opportunity because the press plane back to Washington was leaving in less than an hour.