October 16, 2003

Propaganda Advertisements In a Zeitgeist Font

Maureen Dowd:

"...The president has tried to shake off the curse with a P.R. push to circumvent the national media and get smaller news outlets to do sunny stories about Iraq.

"The P.R. campaign shamelessly included bogus cheerful form letters sent to newspapers, supposedly written by soldiers in Iraq. It also entailed sweetening up the official Web site of the United States Central Command. Until recently, the site offered a mix of upbeat stories and accounts of casualties and setbacks. Now it's a litany of smiley postings, like 'Soldiers host orphans in Mosul' and 'Ninevah Province schools benefit from seized Iraqi assets.' You have to go to a different page for casualty reports.

"Mr. Bush said in interviews that he wanted to 'go over the heads of the filter and speak directly with the people' because there was a 'sense that people in America aren't getting the truth.'

"He is right that there has been a filter that has made it hard for Americans — and even Congress — to get the truth on Iraq, but it isn't the press. It's an administration that comically thinks when it hauls out Dick Cheney to say in his condescending high school principal voice that 2 + 2 = 5, we'll buy it.

"The vice president hasn't come up with W.M.D., Osama or Saddam. But he says we have uncovered a video of Saddam letting two Doberman pinchers eat one of his generals alive because he didn't trust him. Oh, that's worth $87 billion, the Iraqi version of 'When Good Pets Go Bad.'"

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