Thursday, April 27, 2006

PR Isn’t Good Enough Any More

So, if I am to understand Dick Polman’s analysis on Bush’s decision to hire Tony Snow to replace Scott McClellan as White House press secretary, the Democrats dropped the ball because…

We have one party organ (the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) circulating Snow's anti-Bush remarks, yet we have another party organ (the Democratic National Committee) sticking with the bubble theme and painting Snow as a mouthpiece: "This is an interdepartmental move from one part of the conservative infrastructure to another that allows a darling of the right-wing to deliver the same misleading message, cherry-picked information and spin to the American people."
I don’t know when seasoned journalists like Polman who are usually on the money and others of either political stripe are going to understand this, so please allow me to fill in the gaps a bit here.

Tony Snow is a trained propagandist, having plied his dark art for Faux News and other conservative interests for many years. He is also capable of being highly confrontational, which is something that Scott McClellan (or most other people who held McClellan’s job) did not demonstrate during his time (Ari Fleischer, McClellan’s predecessor, demonstrated, at worst, condescending sarcasm, usually with a big grin on his face).

It is not about facts, news gathering or serious analysis with this administration. It has NEVER been about that with this administration. It is about creating and manipulating images and perceptions first, foremost, and always. It is only about getting “the message” out at any cost and utterly destroying anyone who demonstrates that that message is nothing but garbage. That will become readily apparent the first few times that Snow conducts a press briefing.

Scott McClellan lied, hedged, obsfuscated, and showed his disdain for the press. Snow will do all of this also, and with an attitude to boot (something which, I dare say, would be close to a typical Texas swagger).

Actually, Polman would do well to view coverage of his blog post in this morning’s Inquirer, because right next to his entry appears this quote:

“You can only spin so much. It doesn’t matter what a press secretary says if you’re paying $3.50 at the pump.”
That was spoken by Paul Levinson, chairman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.

And to me, that trumps any imagined “PR victories” scored by Dubya because, to quote Joe Biden on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “the American people have figured this guy out by now.”

(Speaking of which, I have no idea if I will have any writeup of last week’s show. If I do, it will be brief, and it will have to be for tomorrow, because I haven’t been able to watch it yet.)

Update: Apparently, Polman isn't the only one trying to hand Bush a "PR victory" (via Atrios).

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