Friday, May 16, 2003
Bush Is Too Artsy For Me

Both Kevin Drum and Sue and Not U are bringing the pain today, concerning the Bush team's extraordinary efforts to doctor Bush's image at all times. From the NYT article both of them are citing, Sue points out that Bush's image team have to work especially hard in comparison to Clinton's image team, because Clinton didn't naturally present himself as a buffoon; and Kevin focuses on the travelling backdrop sets designed by Scott Sforza.

I'd like to say that I accept that presidents tightly control their image, and that kissing babies and photo-ops are part and parcel to the job. Every time I hear these kinds of reports, though, it highlights for me the need for balanced media coverage, and now, regulation. Some media outlets will not report the numbers or efforts involved with a carrier landing, but I don't think they have the right to box out those reports controlling local coverage. For NYC, a city with three successful dailies, local competition will survive even in the face of extreme deregulation, and it's not so important; but for, say, San Angelo, Texas, owning three basic news channels means you own the news. What do we have then when all three of those channels refuse to air Democratic commercials critical of Bush in 2004?