‘They’re Laughing At Us’

Stolen wholesale from the letters section of Romenesko:

2/24/2005 4:08:38 PM

From JEROME WEEKS, Dallas Morning News: Given the recent back-and-forth in these letters about insider access and political manipulation — including William E. Jackson, Jr’s posting about the Judith Miller/Ahmad Chalabi resurrection — interested reporters should pick up the March 10 issue of The New York Review of Books — for the letters page (not available online). Mark Danner, journalism prof at Bard and Berkeley,writes about ‘How Bush Really Won’ and notes what happened with the coverage of Bush’s first campaign ads, which stirred up a furor over the use of World Trade Center footage of a dead fireman.

Prof. Danner writes: “Indeed, the controversy was so serious, according to the Times, that it had ‘complicated efforts by Republicans to seize the initiative after months in which Mr. Bush has often been on the defensive.'” And Newsweek reported much the same thing, with “campaign officials on the defensive.”

But seven months later, after the election, Newsweek published a very different “inside account,” based on exclusive access to the campaigns, a story which it had agreed to embargo until after the voting. In this version, two Bush strategists “were ecstatic. At a strategy meeting the next day — the same morning the Times headline appeared — they joked about how they could fan the flames…. [The controversy] meant lots of ‘free media’; the ads were shown over and over again on news shows . . . The ‘visual’ of the rubble at the World Trade Center was a powerful reminder of … Bush’s finest [hour]…. What’s more, the story eclipsed some grim economic news…. ‘Unfortunately, we’ve been talking about 9/11 and our ads for five days,'” one of the strategists “deadpanned at a senior staff meeting. ‘We’re going to try to pivot back to the economy as soon as we can.’

“There were chuckles all around.”

Folks, they’re laughing at us.

Yes, they are.

They have been for some time.

If it bothers you, though, I suppose then you’ll have to do something about it.

A.