Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Bush The Controller?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bush The Controller?

According to this USA Today article from 2003 we learn of a potential plan by George W. Bush and his administration to put heavy limitations on the press during their questioning session in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq. The article reads, Thursday's event was designed to control the media and make Bush look strong — "not someone who is rushing to war like some wild yahoo." However, is that statement eluding to what is really happening? Is the control meant to cover up and protect our president who is trying to protect his image and divert the attention of the American public from what is really happening?

Of course, we all want to see a President that portrays an image of confidence and knowledge. We want to feel secure, knowing that this individual holds the best interests of our country at heart and will make steady, intelligent decisions based on facts. In the months leading up to the Iraq war in 2003, Bush made two unprecedented moves that could signal the way he and his administration plan to handle — some say intimidate — the media during wartime. The article chronicles the following: First, rather than filing in as usual, reporters were summoned into the East Room in pairs, "as if we were in grammar school and were being called on the line for something," CBS' Bill Plante says. Then, after opening remarks, Bush called on reporters from a predetermined list assembled by White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

In the Bush administrations defense, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer contends “There can be no more solemn responsibility of a president than, if he makes the decision to go to war, to take questions about why, to let the public hear what he hears, to see how he thinks, to explain what conclusions he would have reached as commander-in-chief before he puts our men and women in a position where they could lose their lives.” Veteran members of the press state they hadn't seen such a stifling atmosphere since the 1980s, when President Reagan called on reporters using a seating chart.

Some say that whenever a President holds a press conference it is a relatively controlled setting and that this particular instance is nothing to get “worked up about.” However, I believe this is just an instance of fear on the part of the Bush administration. Fear of looking like a fool in front of the world when they are asked certain questions. The USA Today article makes a great point: "There are inherent limits on how aggressive you can be to the president of the United States on the brink of war in prime time when good questions are asked but not answered," Rosensteil says.


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