Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bush Speech: All About Image (Part 2)

Prior to Dubya's reading to the nation speech Thursday I wrote this:

Once again, Dubya is all about the image. Jackson Square, including the St. Louis Cathedral, is one of the oldest sites in New Orleans. It's in the historic French Quarter, it's the spiritual and cultural center of the city. It's also on relatively high ground these days.

What I'd really like to see is for at least one of the networks to have the courage to do a split screen with Bush on one side and images of the parts of New Orleans still under water on the other.

Editorializing? You bet. But what is Bush's speech if not propaganda? Dubya is concerned about his image, not about New Orleans. He's concerned about the hits he's taken in the polls because of the slow response to Katrina.

Now we know it was worse than I anticipated. NBC anchor Brian Williams noted this on his blog:
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Now for those of you ready to jump on this report because you watched ABC state emphatically that the White House was providing the power for Dubya's little dog and pony show speech: Yes, that is true. But that's not what Brian Williams was blogging about. He was discussing power turned on in the warehouse district (not Jackson Square) so that Dubya's motorcade wouldn't have to drive through dark streets. Then the power went off.

I'm also a bit disturbed by that statement regarding the White House supplying the power for the speech. How many tax dollars did it take to get Dubya and his entourage to New Orleans, prepare the site, set up the equipment (including the flood lights), and tear it down? Why couldn't that money go toward relief efforts? Why didn't Bush speak from the White House?

Because it's all about the image.

America Can Do Better Than George W. Bush.