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A Presidency in Shadow
February 16, 2006 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Notice: henceforth, the Minister of War shall address the people only through the Ministry of Truth. The story-behind-the-story of the Vice President's hunting mishap is the denigration of the MSMTM as the traditional proxy of the public interest, says NYU journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen. "It strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is," Cheney told cherry-picked Fox "News" correspondent Brit Hume yesterday. GOP spokesperson Mary Matalin underlined the point by saying that Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters; Donald Rumsfeld often goes even farther, claiming that terrorist organizations manipulate the American press directly through "media committees." Judging by the administration's contempt for the Fourth Estate, says Rosen, "The public visibility of the presidency itself is under revision. More of it lies in shadow all the time. Non-communication has become the standard procedure, not a breakdown in practice but the essence of it." Even arch-conservative pundits like George Will are starting to get nervous about the lack of check and balances under the current regime. There's no doubt that the White House press corps seems angrier these days -- but are they missing the bigger stories by focusing their wrath on Scott McClellan's birdshot spin?
posted by digaman (34 comments total)

 
Could editorialize this FPP anymore?
posted by Mijo Bijo at 10:35 AM on February 16, 2006


A drunken press conference with Dick Cheney would've made for some good TV. The Bush junta isn't anti-media, quite the contrary, they love to contribute to it.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 10:40 AM on February 16, 2006


if Howie "the Tool" Kurtz is attacking Cheney on this, it means it's not a dangerous issue. Howie never hits them where it hurts
posted by matteo at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2006


George Wills getting nervous. Interesting. Though he is pretty supportive of Bush, I do tend to like his articles because they tend to be very well written and well researched. However, that doesn't excuse his oversight of all the wrongs which have been happening over the past few years. All I have to say is if he is getting antsy, then maybe the rest of the nation will start waking up too.
posted by Doorstop at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2006


and yes, the irony is that cocksucking gets you impeached, war crimes & blatant lies to the American public (lies that cost human lives) don't
posted by matteo at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2006


As George Will goes, so goes the nation?
posted by gigawhat? at 11:00 AM on February 16, 2006


Judging by the administration's contempt for the Fourth Estate

Not that I'm a fan of the current administration, but the fourth estate is rather contemptible...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:08 AM on February 16, 2006


Bah. Will is getting *nervous*? Fictitional wars, media lies, payola, coverups, fake reporters and he's just starting to get nervous?

I suppose if the world blows up he will switch to 'optimistically concerned'.
posted by unixrat at 11:10 AM on February 16, 2006


I'm getting really tired of the facile comparisons to 1984. 1984Filter.
posted by tweak at 11:13 AM on February 16, 2006


This is actually a smart strategy on the part of the Bush administration - and I think it's pretty clear that it is a concerted strategy. If there's one institution the public in general has less regard for than, say, politicians, it's the press; and the contempt is often earned.

Funny thing is the degree to which the press goes along with this. Rosen suggests its because the press - from the NYT to the Washington Post on down - doesn't want to admit the rules of the game have changed, that they are being aced out. And that's the thing you have to understand about why the press covers politics the way it does; because reporters and editors like to think that they are playas, too, that reporting on the insiders makes them insiders. Take that away from them, and they're going to get cranky.

So maybe this strategy backfires in the end - and perhaps we're seeing the beginning of it with the way Cheney handled the shooting incident.
posted by kgasmart at 11:31 AM on February 16, 2006


I don't read that and see Will as being nervous.
He obviously supports the NSA wiretapping. His beef is with the Bush administration's claims that the AUMF authorizes the wiretaps. His piece is more of a call for Congress to amend FISA so that the wiretaps will become legal. That way the administration can drop the AUMF argument.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:37 AM on February 16, 2006


As George Will goes, so goes the nation?

Bow Tie Mania Grips the Nation!
Not just for chihuahua's and ventriloquist dummies anymore!

George Will should stick to baseball books. It is the only subject where he maintains integrity.

PS really good post, digaman!
posted by tkchrist at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2006


From the interview...

I saw him fall, basically. It had happened so fast," Cheney said. "He was struck in the right side of his face, his neck and his upper torso on the right side of his body."

"I take it you missed the bird?" Hume asked.

posted by 327.ca at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2006


Also Cheney adds, "Ultimately, I am the guy who pulled the trigger and fired the round that hit Harry."

Thus laying to rest all those "second shooter" theories.
posted by 327.ca at 12:13 PM on February 16, 2006


Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters

Any question from the press that the administration doesn't want to answer is considered "grandstanding." What a load of shit.
posted by wsg at 12:21 PM on February 16, 2006


"Ultimately, I am the guy who pulled the trigger and fired the round that hit Harry."

The funny part about this is sounds like he is deciding to accept responsibility despite other factors.

The responsibility is not ultimately his. It is totally and at every single stage his responsibility. It isn't a buck stops here moment of a CEO or leader accepting responsibility for the actions of underlings. He was the only person who could possibly be responsible.

Interesting little responsibility minimizing rhetorical shift.
posted by srboisvert at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2006


Well, after listening to some of the questions that McClellan got, Cheney's view of the reporters anticipated behavior (viz. grandstanding) was vindicated. The Washington Press Corps is not a group that especially engenders respect.
posted by CRS at 1:18 PM on February 16, 2006


It isn't a buck stops here moment ...

The buckshot stops here.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:24 PM on February 16, 2006


I'm getting really tired of the facile comparisons to 1984. 1984Filter.

Me too. However, I can't get enough of the apt ones.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:31 PM on February 16, 2006


Actually, matteo, to be precise it was the blatant lies about the cocksucking that brought impeachment, not the act itself.....

And yes they are missing the bigger stories, digaman. Nice post.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:32 PM on February 16, 2006


What are the "Inherent" Powers of the President? How the Bush Administration Has Mistaken Default Rules for Exclusive Rights
posted by homunculus at 1:36 PM on February 16, 2006


Cheney's performance was brilliant. He presented himself as a man, who when he makes a mistake, takes the blame like a man. Now Republicans and some centrists will think here is a guy who will take responsibility. This, when the administration has spent most of the time in office running away from the terrible mistake - Iraq - that it made.

Politically, in terms of tactics and propaganda, the Bush administration is really brilliant.

This shows how the weakness of a Presidential system. In a Westminster system the leader of the country is regularly forced to answer questions to his peers in parliament. This means that he has to be smart enough to debate and think on his feet. He cannot just read an auto queue. Another way to put this is that the leader of the country MUST understand, or at least be familiar with, the issues about which he is making decisions.

Bush II and Reagan would never become Prime Minister.
posted by sien at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2006


Lousy grandstanding reporters
*shakes fist*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:16 PM on February 16, 2006


I'd like to see Cheney's approval numbers before and after the shooting incident. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire episode has garnered Cheney sympathy, while making the left appear even more desperate and directionless.
posted by shoos at 2:34 PM on February 16, 2006


Meanwhile, "an espionage trial about to begin in Alexandria, Va., could threaten the whole enterprise of investigative journalism."
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on February 16, 2006


Masters of Deception
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on February 16, 2006


shoos, Cheney could mow down a busload of orphans and, with some folks, it would somehow result in garnering him sympathy while making the left appear even more desperate and directionless.
posted by darkstar at 4:02 PM on February 16, 2006


This shows how the weakness of a Presidential system. In a Westminster system the leader of the country is regularly forced to answer questions to his peers in parliament. This means that he has to be smart enough to debate and think on his feet. He cannot just read an auto queue. Another way to put this is that the leader of the country MUST understand, or at least be familiar with, the issues about which he is making decisions.

Bush II and Reagan would never become Prime Minister.


I have often thought of this as well. At least Tony Blair seems supremely articulate compared to Bush -- too bad he's turned out to be such a tool. I had higher hopes.
posted by digaman at 4:46 PM on February 16, 2006


This Harry Whittington fellow - does he have any children or grandchildren who're in a bit of trouble right now?

<tinfoilhat>
So, Harry. I heard little Tommy Whittington got arrested for trying to stick up a liquor joint in Tennessee. I can make things all better if you'll let big Dick shoot you.

Oh, no, don't worry. Just birdshot. It'll sting a little but that's about it.

What? Why? Well, we need some circus in addition to bread. Wonderboy thought it's be great if the VP would do something really, like, out there - we'll even gimmick it and let people speculate that he was drunk when he did it. The left will get their panties in a bunch and look like crazy little biddies. Gets everyone riled up and talking about something else; none of this Abrahamoff bullshit, or that loser Delay, or that Plame thing.

What Plame thing? Oh, don't worry about it. Hell, everybody's forgotten that we still have troops in Afghanistan, much less that we invaded them a few years ago. Heh.

So, how's about it? Take one for the team and little Tommy's file will get "misplaced." We'll even fly him out to your place in the Hamptons on the taxpayer's dime. Waddaya say?
</tinfoilhat>
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:29 PM on February 16, 2006


I'd like to see Cheney's approval numbers before and after the shooting incident.

Dick Cheney, now more popular than leprosy!
posted by jonp72 at 2:24 PM on February 17, 2006


Hell, everybody's forgotten that we still have troops in Afghanistan, much less that we invaded them a few years ago. Heh.

You do? I thought Canada and a few other national peace-keeping forces had taken over the duties there. You know, the typical 'clean up after the bloody Americans' duty that seems to befall the rest of us.

Yes, I'm being antagonistic with that wording. But I am serious: I thought you'd basically scarpered, and that others were now leading the Afghanistan mess. (Inadequately, too, given the Taliban are back.)
posted by five fresh fish at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2006


Cheney, so popular that even if you shoot him you will apologize to him and his family!
posted by shoos at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2006


or he shoots you, rather!
posted by shoos at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2006


I have often thought of this as well. At least Tony Blair seems supremely articulate compared to Bush -- too bad he's turned out to be such a tool.

That's hilarious. He is a tool but at least he is articulate! I think you just summed up the British caste system.
posted by srboisvert at 2:06 PM on February 18, 2006


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