April 29, 2006

Recipe For A PR Disaster?

This can't be good (for Bush).

Bush is attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington tonight. FOX says "Comedy Central's pretend pundit Stephen Colbert serves as this year's host."

Does Bush know what he is walking into?

UPDATE: Hilarious! Atrios suggests Bush (or Colbert? or Atrios?) was drunk. E&P has the details. Bottom line:
As he walked from the podium, the president and First Lady gave Colbert quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately.
UPDATE 2: I know I am breaking my self-imposed blogging hiatus, but this is an intriguing story on various levels.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly in the long run, it suggests that Bush is now going it alone with his "let Bush be Bush" phase. Why on earth did his media minders let him walk into this embarrassing debacle? Something like that doesn't happen every day on Planet Bush. I can't help wondering if this is what happens when Bush tells Rove and Cheney to go &*%$ themselves... Does "letting Bush be Bush" mean cutting the ropes and swimming for shore?

Secondly, there is the issue of ZERO media coverage. I spent about 24 hours looking for big media coverage of this story and it just never happened, not even in the global press. That's despite the fact that Technorati's #1 and #2 search items were "Colbert" and "Stephen Colbert". By now, Colbert's performance is old news. So what happened? Here's Peter Daou's thoughts:
Colbert's performance is sidestepped and marginalized while Bush is treated as light-hearted, humble, and funny. Expect nothing less from the cowardly American media. The story could just as well have been Bush and Laura's discomfort and the crowd's semi-hostile reaction to Colbert's razor-sharp barbs. In fact, I would guess that from the perspective of newsworthiness and public interest, Bush-the-playful-president is far less compelling than a comedy sketch gone awry, a pissed-off prez, and a shell-shocked audience.

This is the power of the media to choose the news, to decide when and how to shield Bush from negative publicity. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission.
Fair enough. But consider this. I showed the video clip to my 63-year-old Mum (politically aware and a Bush-hater) and she just didn't get the jokes. Sure, the regular viewers of the Daily Show were laughing. Kos and Atrios readers were in hysterics. But would mainstream America (let alone the rest of the world) even have understood this humour, had the media had the courage to run with it?

That's not to excuse the media for failing to report this massively important story of a failed President being humiliated to his face. But it just shows what a long way we in the anti-Bush crowd still have to go. Score one for us, but Bush & Co. still hold all the cards, own the playing field, have paid off the referees, etc etc.

And once again, this story makes me wonder about the value in pursuing this blog: we anti-Bush bloggers have had a huge impact to date, but half the world still doesn't even know what we are talking about. Sure, blogs like Atrios, BradBlog and AmericaBlog do a great job chasing down the daily stories, but there needs to be a more powerful kick in the tail of these propaganda wars. Being right is one thing, getting real results from that is another.

Maybe Bush Out (by Gandhi) is past its due date? Maybe it's time to hit the streets with massive anti-Bush rallies? Or maybe the Bush team is already finished, this is just a sign of things to come, and all that's left to do is sit back and watch the Bush debacle unfold? Who knows? I blather on, you decide...

PS: I am still sick. Obviously.


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