Friday, September 03, 2004

The media spins Bush 

This is how Associated Press reports(?) on President Bush's speech:
"An unpopular war and 1.1 million lost jobs is enough to kill a presidency, so President George W Bush has tried to make the US election about something else: himself and his leadership style."
And if he just talked about Iraq and the war on terror they would say that he's incapable of addressing other issues. "Himself and his leadership style," however, wasn't enough for Agence France Presse: "Bush's speech was as notable for what was not in it." It's a common complaint, after all, made of many different works, including the Bible. AFP explains:
"[Bush] did not mention the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction he cited as the reason for the war in Iraq, which has eroded US credibility.

"He did not mention the two surviving regimes of his 'axis of evil,' Iran and North Korea, and he did not name Osama bin Laden, the September 11 mastermind who has eluded US forces for three years.

"Bush, speaking one day before a government employment report that will affect the race, did not give a sunny job forecast and detailed only modest new initiatives to help millions seeking work."
Just as AP knows that "an unpopular war and 1.1 million lost jobs is enough to kill a presidency," so does AFP knows that a "government employment report... will affect the race" - is it just me, or are news wire service getting not just very good at election strategising, but also at predicting the future? Or is it just another case of media time traveling?

Reuters, by contrast, was a lot more restrained and actually quoted extensively from Bush's speech, - they even managed to find enough issues in the hour-long address to fill a good-sized article. Who would have thought?

CNN titled its piece "Bush promises prosperity, security", but thought the following piece of information was important enough to warrant a second title: "Convention speech interrupted by hecklers." Contra Agence France Presse, however, CNN seemed quite happy about the contents:
"Some of Bush's ideas lacked details, and he did not say how he would pay for them, but his proposals -- some of them familiar -- amounted to the most comprehensive listing yet of what Bush wants to do in a second term."
Comprehensive it might have been, but - again for the Associated Press - also incomplete and contradictory:
"President Bush's boast of a 30-member-strong coalition in Iraq masked the reality that the United States is bearing the overwhelming share of costs, in lives and troop commitments. And in claiming to have routed most al-Qaida leaders, he did not mention that the big one got away...

"[Bush] took some license in telling Americans that Democratic opponent John Kerry 'is running on a platform of increasing taxes.' Kerry would, in fact, raise taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans as part of a plan to keep the Bush tax cuts for everyone else and even cut some of them more. That's not exactly a tax-increase platform.

"And on education, Bush voiced an inherent contradiction, dating back to his 2000 campaign, in stating his stout support for local control of education, yet promising to toughen federal standards that override local decision-making."
But at least the President's speech fitted into a general pattern of the Convention: "Bush's address wasn't the only one this week that glossed over some realities." Chaney, Pataki and Miller were guilty too.

And the
"New York Times" had this scoop on the inspiration behind Bush's marketing:
"Taking a page from Bill Clinton in 1992 and Mr. Kerry last month, Mr. Bush issued a 48-page glossy book that described his proposals, titled 'A Plan for a Safer World and More Hopeful America'."
Not only that - I hear that after the Democratic Party's successful convention in Boston earlier on this year, the Republicans decided to take a page from the Dems' book and hold one of their own in New York. But please keep this confidential; I wouldn't want people to know just how much the Republicans lack in originality and imagination.


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