Beating around the ‘Bush’ about Media Bias
Get out the teriyaki sauce because I am ready to marinate a lame duck. I must apologize; I could not resist making a pun about a duck. Once again, the George W. Bush administration is partaking in ludicrous shenanigans that will tarnish its already filthy reputation.
On May 19, the Bush administration sent a scathing letter to NBC for so-called “deceptive editing” of an interview between Bush and NBC’s Richard Engel. The White House accused NBC of perpetuating a “media-manufactured storyline.” The letter called the network “irresponsible” and demanded that the interview be shown in its entirety on the air.
The uproar started when Engel asked Bush about his speech on Iran. “You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless, and then you went further—you said it was appeasement. Were you referring to Senator Barack Obama?” Engel wondered.
I have seen both the complete and the edited responses. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to print the responses in their entirety. Suffice it to say that not only are they virtually identical, but Bush also failed to address the question.
For what plausible reason would the Bush administration claim the answers are different? Better yet, why draw attention to such a poor answer to a reasonable question? The Bush administration has baffled me since he took office when I was in eighth grade. Frankly, the man and those behind him have never been much more than a joke to me.
Since the beginning of his current term, Bush has brutally beaten a few principles and policies to death. I was at his inauguration, and I heard his speech. My friends and I planned to take a shot of alcohol that night for every mention of the word “freedom” and “9/11.” Of course, we would have been dead many times over had we followed this pact.
Remaining so steadfast on policy is completely out of touch with reality. The notion that the United States should increase executive power has led to Vice President Dick Cheney’s ridiculous claims of “executive privilege.” Maybe it was buried in the back of the Constitution somewhere? It has also led to the ludicrous notion that the vice president is not part of the executive branch and is therefore not subject to the same rules.
Bush chose his policies and values long ago and followed through with them despite the consequences. This meant blindly pursuing a number of disastrous courses of action, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the drastic changes made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and of course, the Iraq War.
This strategy has led me to the key to the puzzle that is the Bush administration and thus to my question about this quarrel. The secret to understanding any illogical action taken by the government over the last two terms is to find the underlying principles established in its first year.
In this case, it was the conclusion that the media has a horrible liberal bias. This meant that the Bush administration felt bound to hate the media from the beginning and was forced to condemn any action, no matter how minor, that might be construed as hostile.
There is not necessarily anything sinister about the Bush administration’s unchanging beliefs. Bush seems to sincerely believe the ideas for which he claims to stand. He would have to in order not to laugh at his own illogical, misinformed and sometimes childish arguments. For him, changing one’s beliefs and strategies makes one untrustworthy, even cowardly.
To me, it takes substantial moral fiber to admit when one is wrong. A great intellectual presence is required to listen to new information and make conscious, deliberate decisions that would fundamentally alter a personal belief system, but that is what is necessary to run a country. Bush runs America on a belief and strategy system now seven years old.
This newest incident between the White House and NBC only highlights the cons of this narrow-minded approach to governing. It is the stuff comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert drool over because it makes their lives so easy. Blindly sticking to policies and beliefs while ignoring the outside world’s reactions results in ignorant governing that harms the nation from every possible viewpoint.
Kevin Pease is a third-year psychology and social behavior major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.