TITLE

&C

AUTHOR(S)
Scheiber, Noam
PUB. DATE
May 2004
SOURCE
New Republic;5/10/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 17, p11
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Subcritical: Last week on TNR.com, I puzzled over the recent polling data showing Bush rising relative to Kerry, despite weeks of bad news from Iraq and the 9/11 Commission. I suggested that what we might be seeing was a kind of critical-mass phenomenon. The idea was that any news--even bad news--about foreign affairs or national security might initially help Bush, since those are the issues he's perceived to be strongest on, but that eventually the cumulative weight of all the bad news would undercut this perception and come crashing down on him, at which point his poll numbers would go through the floor. What I didn't do was explain why this might be the case. Fortunately, Dana Milbank hinted at an explanation in the April 25 "Washington Post," in a piece about how Bush relies on "skillful use of language and images" to keep the public behind the war effort. Reading the piece, you realize pretty quickly that what Milbank means by "skillful use" is really "dishonest use"--he lists several examples of the Bush administration shading the truth on Iraq, including its claims that the uprising in Iraq is the work of a "violent few," that a broad coalition of "other nations" are committed to our mission there, and that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda. It's only after a military situation deteriorates to the point where the optimistic claims are so obviously out of line with what's happening on the ground--and we still haven't reached that point--that people are likely to reject the administration's line.
ACCESSION #
13006997

 

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