Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Bush Against The Media

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bush Against The Media

Here you see an image of President Bush addressing a room full of press. Standing firm yet with a slight distance between himself and the podium. This can also be said about his relationship with the media. Bush had a relatively distant relationship with the press and felt it should stay that way. In Ken Auletta's article " Fortress Bush: How the White House Keeps the Press at Distance - and Under Control" (2004), his love-hate relationship with the press is addressed.
In a planned press barbecue that the President gave, he was more lax with the way he answered questions of the media. His most honest view about the press came about when asked how he knows what the public thinks if you're so standoffish with the media. His response “You’re making a huge assumption—that you represent what the public thinks.” The press in his mind is irrelevant because he, being an elected official, is what the public believes in. Not the minds of the journalists that report on his doings. Andrew Card, Bush's Chief of Staff, remarked “They don’t represent the public any more than other people do. In our democracy, the people who represent the public stood for election. . . . I don’t believe you have a check-and-balance function.” This may be how Bush coped with all of the negative press that surrounded him upon entering the Iraq War.
On the other hand, Bush is deemed personally likable from certain members of the press. He gives them nicknames and seems like a fairly charming man when not in the spotlight. However, he still views the press as leaning moreso to the left so in that way they are deemed the enemy. Only out to get the best headlines. A tactic the Bush administration uses in talking to the press is to give them specific talking points and to engage them as little as possible. That way, the administration gets to say exactly what they want to say without the fear of being questioned about it. Card and Bush justify this way of thinking by saying it is not their job to give the public information, it is the job of the press. This is contradictory to what was previously said because Bush stated that they represent what the public thinks. If the administration does not work with the press then how will the public get the correct information. This only works best for the administration because they can still say they gave info, in all actuality never giving up what is important.
“It’s not our job to be sources,” he replied, flushing. “The taxpayers don’t pay us to leak! . . . I feel strongly that people who get paid taxpayer dollars should be doing their job. If their job is like Ashley’s”—Ashley Snee, a member of the press staff, who sat in on the interview—“if their job is to talk to the press, they should talk to the press. If their job is to help develop policy, it’s to talk to the people who are involved in that policymaking process; they don’t get paid to talk to the press. . . . Our job is not to make your job easy.”
The Bush administration clearly thought of the media as beneath them and not worthy in garnering the public's support. In their minds, what they say is best because they represent what the public wants, not what the press asks. Even if the public is clearly stating that they don't agree.


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