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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The G.W. Bush Infomercial

Fred Kaplan writes in Slate:

"Did CNN and MSNBC get hoodwinked this morning? Yesterday, the White House announced that President Bush would be delivering a 'major policy address' on terrorism today. The cable news networks broadcast it live and in full. Yet the 'address' turned out to be a standard campaign stump speech before a Pennsylvania crowd that seemed pumped on peyote, cheering, screaming, or whooping at every sentence.

The president announced no new policy, uttered not one new word about terrorism, foreign policy, or anything else. He did all the things he wanted to do in last Thursday's debate—accuse his opponent of weakness, bad judgment, vacillation, and other forms of flip-floppery—though this time without a moderator to hush the audience, much less an opponent to bite back. And Bush loved it, smiling, smirking, raising his eyebrows, as if to say, 'How 'bout that zinger?'

In short, the cable networks were lured into airing an hourlong free campaign ad for George W. Bush..."

Story continues here.

Kaplan also notes:

"[O]n the matter of the Bush administration's efforts to revive Iraq's economy, a report this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies—a conservative Washington-based think tank—finds that for every dollar spent on aid to Iraq, only 27 cents filters down to projects benefiting Iraqis. The rest pays for administrative and management costs. (This is what happens when 85 percent of contracts are awarded to big U.S. or British firms, while just 2 percent go to Iraqi companies.) Add to this the fact that Bush has spent only a small fraction of the $18.5 billion that Congress appropriated for reconstruction, and the verdict can only be that we're doing just slightly more than squat. The evidence is seen in the continued electrical blackouts and the grave shortfall of basic services. The result is that Iraqis who might otherwise have been compliant citizens join the insurgency—or at least let the insurgents pass without turning them in."


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