The Bush Whitewash

President Bush’s poll ratings were among the highest and lowest that modern presidents have ever received — but feelings about George W. Bush the person never fell as far as his job approval numbers.

Ask his staff or his friends to describe the president, and they’ll say “Normal, regular — if he moved in next door, you’d be friends.” The president made an effort to keep his life normal. He likes meetings to begin and end on time; he likes a schedule.

Weekend Edition Sunday, January 11, 2009

I’m increasingly irritated at National Public Radio’s coverage of current events. It’s always been, “Most Things Ignored,” of course, but the alternative media has grown so strong in recent years that it hardly matters. You can learn more from any given Fresh Air episode than you can from a week of “All Things Considered.” You can get a good outline of what’s going on from NPR but it’s no longer any more substantive than, say, the networks’ nightly news programs.

Even worse than the lack of substance is the substitution of an angry, argumentative tone for real analysis and understanding. It’s been particularly obvious in the last few weeks as the Bush propaganda machine attempts to re-tool the brutality and sheer stupid incompetence of his administration. Bush and company began their long campaign by creating a ‘good-old-boy’ image that they felt would be easy to market to their core constituency. He seems to be bringing it back one last time.

What drives me crazy about NPR is that the reporters seem to buy into the public relations campaign almost whole-cloth. Instead of talking about why the Bush administration is peddling their oldest story again, reporters seem to be “analyzing” the question of whether or not Bush is or is not a really fun guy. Some of the reports even seem to feel sorry for him. Meanwhile, of course, the economy continues to collapse, the wars go on, the horrors of Gaza go on.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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