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White House media advisor spins the war in London.
March 20, 2002 10:50 AM   Subscribe

White House media advisor spins the war in London. President Bush has sent "military advisors" to Yemen, Georgia and the Philippines to help with the war on terrorism. Did anyone know he sent his #2 media man, Tucker Eskew, to London as a "media advisor" to Tony Blair's #1 media man, Alastair Campbell, to help spin the war to the Brits?

Do you think a U.S. administration would ever agree to a foreign government rep "advising" them on how to talk to their citizens? Or do they already?
posted by busbyism (9 comments total)

 
Campbell pitched in to help NATO spin the bombing of Kosovo in '99, so maybe someone's called in a favour?
posted by CatherineB at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2002


Clinton sent a number of his spin people over to help Tony Blair during the '97 UK elections.
posted by aaron at 12:45 PM on March 20, 2002


Do you think a US administration would ever agree to a foreign government rep "advising" them on how to talk to their citizens? Or do they already?

Well, David Frum, the speechwriter credited with Bush's 'axis of evil' phrase, is a Canadian ...

posted by Owen Boswarva at 1:57 PM on March 20, 2002


During WWII, of course, one Harry Hopkins (yes, he had a hat) was a special emissary from FDR to Winston Churchill, and is credited with keeping relations between the two nations on an even keel.

This really isn't that surprising; Blair, of course, is wholly on board the coalition at a personal mission level. Doing this sort of thing is simply a way of keeping each other's talking points on message. Given that even the closest of allies can have serious disagreements, heading those off before they happen should be a major priority.
posted by dhartung at 2:26 PM on March 20, 2002


Oh, and there's cross-pollination with campaign advisors, too -- when guys like Carville, David Wilhelm, et al. aren't working on American campaigns, they scare up business from Israel to Latin America. Some of these countries are eager to run "American-style" political campaigns -- notably Netanyahu was criticized for this. These tend to breed all sorts of quiet connections, particularly importantly with opposition candidates and people in Washington. It's a way to quietly build in all sorts of back-channel communications routes and keep an eye on what's happening or likely to happen.
posted by dhartung at 2:29 PM on March 20, 2002


Given that even the closest of allies can have serious disagreements, heading those off before they happen should be a major priority

Excellent point, especially given the British press' tendancy to jump on these disagreements and start writing hysterical headlines about cracks in the alliance.
posted by cell divide at 2:33 PM on March 20, 2002


The British papers and news programmes are already full of unofficial-official Voices of America, like the excruciatingly ubiquitous James Rubin, who's at the LSE right now. Mr Eskew will have a job on his hands, as public (and political) disquiet is aimed at the overbearing influence of the White House on Dear Sainted Tony. Having a resident American whispering into Alistair Campbell's ear (and godknows he's as beloved to the hackpack as dogshit on your shoe) isn't going to disabuse the sceptics. The real art of ventriloquy is making your audience focus on the puppet, not your own lips.
posted by riviera at 3:52 PM on March 20, 2002


godknows he's as beloved to the hackpack as dogshit on your shoe. . . The real art of ventriloquy is making your audience focus on the puppet, not your own lips.

Great comments. And as an added bonus, they sound like Dylan lyrics. I appreciate both.
posted by busbyism at 6:58 PM on March 20, 2002


the excruciatingly ubiquitous James Rubin, who's at the LSE right now.

Heard him give a lecture here last year about why NMD was such a good idea really, or rather would be such a good idea if instead of mounting the missiles on land you had them on boats or subs so they could be moved about.

For Son of Star Wars, read Son of Crimson Tide....
posted by CatherineB at 11:11 AM on March 21, 2002


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