Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's all about packaging

Interesting times over at the Corner. Today, we have a double-barrel shot from Byron York and David Frum over Bush's speechifying becoming increasingly divorced from reality on the ground in Iraq.

Again, supporters of the war can do our bit to try to change minds. But the biggest megaphone in the country belongs to President Bush - and much depends on whether he uses it well or badly.

He is using it very badly indeed.


Recently I asked an administration official about the highly generalized, same old, same old quality of the president's Iraq speeches. "I don't think that's fair," the official responded. "It may be the sound bite you hear on TV, but I think if you read the speeches, he talks about more. He puts it in context."

The official continued: "When things are not going well, you always hear that you have a communications problem. Sometimes you have a facts-on-the-ground problem."

I think it's telling that the war-backers say the major problem is not that the war is being poorly prosecuted or executed (a "facts-on-the-ground problem), but that the President just needs to start talking about Iraq in a way that would assuage the fears of his fellow Americans or cherry-pick postive news. I think that says a whole lot.

For instance, Frum:
The president could have made news yesterday by itemizing the reasons to regard Iraq more positively than most journalists do. He could have ticked off some of the achievements daily posted on the centcom.mil site. (Here's the latest.) He could have teased details even out of the mainstream media. (Mickey Kaus the other day noted that the reliably dour Robin Wright of the Washington Post casually mentioned in the course of her latest down-beater that Iraq has gone on a car-buying boom that has put a million new cars on the road since liberation. Kaus: "A 'car-buying boom'--another shocking failure! Don't they know about global warming?")

Interesting turn of phrase. "Car-buying boom."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:12 AM

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