June 18, 2006

Singing In The Rain



Let’s see what can happen when the media gets caught up in a White House spin cycle.

Forget the fact a number of prisoners killed themselves in Gitmo, or that the military investigation into Haditha was completed.  Last week, the MSM treated the the Zarqawi killing like we had snuffed bin Laden; they played up the shaky completion of the Iraqi cabinet as if that government was now on solid footing; they touted a Baghdad security crackdown even as widespread violence continued; they went easy on a cynical Republican House vote designed to make the Democrats look weak on the war while providing exposure to the “cut-and-run” meme; and they intoned the “prophesy-as-fact” that Bush’s brief appearance in Baghdad — a thorough publicity stunt — somehow constituted a significant factor in a supposed policy turn-around.

Which leads us to Saturday, and these two pics.

The top shot comes from a NYT article titled: In High Spirits, Bush Takes A Campaign Spin In The West.  I have to share the first paragraph with you:

Buoyed by the first good news out of Iraq in months and hints of a slight improvement in the polls, President Bush took a Western campaign swing on Friday to back up his party’s newly crystallized attack against the Democrats as wanting to “cut and run” in Iraq.

The reference to “cutting-and-running” or “running away” from the war appears three times in the write-up.

The second image appeared with a same-page NYT piece entitled: Democrats Outline A Platform for the Fall.  In this case, the presentation of the Democratic platform was diminished by a concentration on politics.  Here’s a key paragraph near the end:

The Democrats’ declaration comes after two weeks that have reversed a run of bad news for Republicans. The Republicans won a special election in the California Congressional district that both sides saw as a bellwether for November; and a special prosecutor investigating the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s name announced he would not indict Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, whom Democrats hold up as a symbol of Republican corruption.

I guess squeaking out a congressional race in a long held safe-district, and not having your chief political advisor indicted count for big pluses these days  — even if a good chunk of your party leadership also symbolizes corruption.

So, back to image one.  For an operative metaphor, how about: “Singing in the rain” ? In reality, of course, Bush has been washing out with the country taking the drenching.  In contrast, the photo gives new life to the Rovian narrative, of a guy on the march who is forever innocent and thus, never gets wet.

And image two?  Well, it plays on the stereotype that the Dems are terminally fractured, and lack stature besides.  While Representative Hoyer outlines the platform, it seems like Harry Reid (center) either can’t give it the time of day, or even harbors some qualifications.  It doesn’t help, either, that Reid — the ranking Democratic senator, seems to be completely ignored by his colleague, Senator Durbin.  And, what of the banner?  It’s not only obscured, the party’s “new direction” is framed by party leaders who aren’t on the same page.

(image 1: Gerald Herbert/AP.  June 17, 2006.  Seattle.  The New York Times.  p. A11.  image 2: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times.  June 17, 2006.  Washington.  The New York Times.  p. A11)

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Michael Shaw
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