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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Banner? What banner?

Wesley Clark responded to the president's lie about the "Mission Accomplished" banner with this statement:

I think it is outrageous. He blamed the sailors for that and it is something — an event — that his advance team staged. I guess that next thing we are going to hear is that the sailors told him to wear the flight suit and prance around on the aircraft carrier. This is a president who does not want to take accountability.

To read today's press briefing is to marvel at the audacity of White House spin — because the White House was awfully pleased with the USS Abraham Lincoln extravaganza five and a half months ago (thanks, Tapped!):

White House officials say that a variety of people, including the president, came up with the idea, and that Mr. Sforza embedded himself on the carrier to make preparations days before Mr. Bush's landing in a flight suit and his early evening speech.

Media strategists noted afterward that Mr. Sforza and his aides had choreographed every aspect of the event, even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder and the "Mission Accomplished" banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call "magic hour light," which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush.

But here's the kicker, for me:

"We pay particular attention to not only what the president says but what the American people see," [White House communications director Dan] Bartlett said. "Americans are leading busy lives, and sometimes they don't have the opportunity to read a story or listen to an entire broadcast. But if they can have an instant understanding of what the president is talking about by seeing 60 seconds of television, you accomplish your goals as communicators. So we take it seriously."

I'm glad the President took such care to let the entire world know just how proud he was of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Too bad he didn't bother showing up to thank all the other units deployed overseas — but at least we now know that their missions are far from over.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 29 October 2003 at 6:11 PM

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