Saturday, August 25, 2007

NY Times: "Hey, Rain is Wet!"

Apparently, the New York Times, sometimes referred to as "America's newspaper of record," never had any reporters out on the streets at either of Bush's inaugurations, or at any other rally or parade or appearance that the President has ever held. Which must be why they've just discovered what the rest of us have known for years:
Squelching the Citizenry’s Back Talk New York Times Editorial Published: August 25, 2007 The White House certainly has been guilty of mismanagement and lack of preparation on the big things, like the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina. But it turns out that President Bush’s encounters with ordinary Americans have been micromanaged and laboriously controlled for the past five years to weed out the merest whiff of protest. Citizen volunteers are enlisted to vet cranky-looking sorts outside the event, and “rally squads” of zealots are prompted to pounce on anyone who manages to slip through with an outspoken thought or an unscripted word. “Do not fall into their trap!” warns the presidential manual in hypothesizing that protesters really want to be physically restrained and attract media notice, not merely exercise their right to complain. Instead, the roaming squads’ task is to use their own “signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform.” Noisy protest? The rally squads’ response must be immediate choruses of “USA! USA!” to muffle the moment with patriotic chaff. These vigilante squads are out of place in a democracy. The chamois-tight precautions of the White House’s presidential visit manual surfaced in The Washington Post because of a First Amendment lawsuit involving two people who refused to cover up the message of their T-shirts at a Fourth of July presidential event. “Regime change begins at home,” was the familiar shirt message of one protestor who was handcuffed and taken to jail. The manual magnanimously advises local police to tolerate dissenters — providing they are barred from the event through an ultra-loyalist ticketing process and then cordoned well off from earshot and sight of the president and his passing motorcade. Every White House stage-manages presidential events, but this level of obsession with silencing the vox pop is a symptom of this administration’s broader problem honoring Americans’ constitutional freedoms.
Fortunately, the Times does pay someone to sit at a desk each day and read the Washington Post. Good job, guys!


Post a Comment

<< Home