Friday, August 04, 2006
( 5:59 AM )
Why they didn't do this years ago, I don't know. But the Bush White House evidently feels that lame-duckness shouldn't prevent them from furthering the decline of democracy. Liberal Oasis has the best post I've seen on the new "redecorating" of the White House Press Briefing Room:
Renovation itself is, of course, innocuous. Surely the room does need a spiffing up.
But this is not just adding comfy chairs and new curtains. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Next up: a renovation of the briefing room, likely with a video wall that could display everything from "flags waving in the breeze [to] detailed charts and graphs," according to a senior White House official working on the project.
For TV viewers, the video feed could be the sole on-screen image, or could share the space with the speaker...the new technology could help transform White House briefings ... into more interesting viewing.
Both the planned video capabilities and Mr. Snow's hiring appear to be part of a subtle but sweeping effort by administration officials to deliver their message directly to the public, particularly through video...
As Liberal Oasis says:
In other words: what was a daily forum where the public, through the media, could attempt to hold the White House accountable for its actions and policies, will become a staged television event to help the White House "catapult the propaganda."
And I agree about what the response should be:
The proper response should be outright defiance: a boycott of the daily briefing.
White House reporters simply should not tolerate being relegated to political props.
Which is what Tony Snow's appointment has been all about: making the briefing a Fox News-style rigged debate with reporters as foils, instead of a means to subject White House positions to public questioning.
The press corps shouldn't stand for it.
And they shouldn't worry about losing anything by boycotting it.
Sure, the Bushies would gladly call their bluff and cancel the briefing.
But they have sapped the daily briefing of all its utility anyway. No useful information is ever obtained there. Reporters could easily find better ways to spend their time.
The Briefing Room is just that. It should be a straightforward, up front, simple situation where the press asks direct questions of the administration. And gets answers. But since neither the questions nor the answers have been much in evidence in the last few years, its no wonder the white house is looking to flash-up its message.
There is always the chance that the White House press corps will wake up and actually start asking questions and investigating, but forgive me if I don't hold my breath. The new propaganda room is one more way to lull the citizens of this country into a drunken sense of contentedness in their own ignorance. Democracy cannot survive unless the citizens take it in hand and hold their government accountable. Allowing straight propaganda to come out of the briefing room is not the way to do this.