Sunday, March 16, 2003

Media Watch: Ga-Ga over Blair

Only days ago the media was in a frenzy over how the administration could be losing the public relations war to Saddam Hussein. All of that is history after the summit today. Polls are now showing strengthened support for the administration among Americans. We'll have to wait and see if Tony Blair helped himself today as well.

With support solidifying in the U.S., the media is actually ga-ga over Blair and his eloquent defense of why it is necessary to attack Iraq. Unable to show polls opposing the administration's policy, the strategy now is to praise Blair more than Bush. This was the tack Mara Liasson (the token NPR voice on Fox News) took on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume today. Of course, Blair is excellent; but certain elements of the media have taken to praising him as a way of avoiding talking about Bush.

Once again, Bush has played this well. His style is slow but sure. He took his time in moving on Afghanistan (one full month after 9/11), and he is operating similarly now. With one day-long summit, he squelched all media cackling about losing a public relations war. (Incidentally, Bush flying back tonight was an excellent maneuver as well, showing solidarity with our allies without servility to the obstructionists. No hand-wringing over France's obstiance; no all-night phone calls to Paris trying to strike a deal.) Soon the real war will be under way, and he'll win that too. What on earth will the NYTimes do then?

Update 3/18/2002: Paul Krugman proves David Brooks' recent analysis by excoriating the administration's diplomacy without mentioning its success at home, where two-thirds of Americans favor the administration's foreign policy. Far be it from Howell Raines to assign a story to a cub reporter or Elisabeth Bumiller on Bush's domestic success.


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