When this campaign is over, Linda Grabel may become famous.
Mr. Bush could recoup by Nov. 2 for all manner of reasons, including his showing in the subsequent debates, both yet to come as I write. John F. Kerry is no John F. Kennedy. But the liberal blog Daily Kos had the big picture right: on Sept. 30, “months of meticulous image manipulation” by the Bush-Cheney forces went “down the toilet in 90 minutes.”
That’s a shocking development because until recently, that manipulation had been meticulous and then some. The administration has been brilliant at concocting camera-ready video narratives that flatter if not outright fictionalize its actions: “Saving Jessica Lynch,” “Shock and Awe,” the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue (a sparsely populated, unspontaneous event, when seen in the documentary “Control Room”), “Mission Accomplished.” Mr. Bush has been posed by his imagineers to appear to be the fifth head on Mount Rushmore; he has kept the coffins of the American war dead off-screen; he has been seen in shirtsleeves at faux-folksy Town Hall meetings that, until his second debate with Mr. Kerry, were so firmly policed in content and attendees that they would make a Skull and Bones soiree look like a paragon of democracy in action. Time reported last spring that even the Department of Homeland Security was told to take a break from its appointed tasks to round up one terrorism-fighting photo op a month for the president.
To enforce the triumphalist narrative of these cinematic efforts, the Bush team had to cut out any skeptical press, or, as Mr. Bush once put it, “go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people” (as long as they’re pre-selected). This didn’t just mean avoiding press conferences and blackballing reporters from campaign planes. It also required an active program to demonize “the elite media” while feeding Fox News and its talk-radio and on-line amen chorus at every opportunity. “I end up spending a lot of time watching Fox News, because they’re more accurate in my experience” is how Dick Cheney put it earlier this year. Thus the first Bush-Kerry debate was preceded by a three-installment interview with the president by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, whose idea of hard-hitting journalism is encapsulated in his boast that his was “the only national TV news program” to shield its viewers from pictures of Abu Ghraib. The highlight of his pre-debate Bush marathon was his expression of admiration for the president’s guts in taking questions not submitted to him in advance. This is a “free press” in the same spirit as that championed by such Bush pals as Silvio Berlusconi, Crown Prince Abdullah, Pervez Musharraf, Ayad Allawi and, of course, dear old “Vladimir.”
But those who live by Fox News can die by Fox News. If you limit your diet to Fox and its talk-radio and blogging satellites, you may think that the only pressing non-Laci Peterson, non-Kobe, non-hurricane stories are “Rathergate” and the antics of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Your diet of bad news from Iraq is restricted, and Abu Ghraib becomes an over-the-top frat hazing. You are certain that John Kerry can’t score in the debates because everyone knows he’s an overtanned, overmanicured metrosexual. You reside in such an isolated echo chamber that you aren’t aware that even the third-rated network news broadcast, that anchored by the boogeyman Dan Rather, draws 50 percent more viewers on a bad night than “The O’Reilly Factor” does on a great one (the Bush interview).
Eventually you become a prisoner of your own fiction and lose touch with reality. You start making the mistakes Mr. Baker made – and more. The whole Bush-Cheney operation is less sure-footed about media manipulation than it once was. You could see this the week before the debate, when the president rolled out Mr. Allawi for a series of staged Washington appearances that were even less effective than his predecessor Ahmad Chalabi’s State of the Union photo op with Laura Bush. No one at the White House seemed to realize that if you want to keep a puppet from being ridiculed as a puppet you don’t put him on camera to deliver sound bites (some 16, by the calculation of Dana Milbank of The Washington Post) that are paraphrases of the president’s much replayed golden oldies. The whole long charade played out like a lost reel of “Duck Soup.”
Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod was already the most popular digital music player on the market, but the device’s share of the U.S. retail market for digital music players has grown considerably over the past twelve months, according to data collected by market research firm NPD Group Inc. NPD’s research is mentioned in a recent Bloomberg.com report that discusses Apple’s success with the iPod and how it has affected Apple’s stock performance.
The iPod’s market share in U.S. retail stores rose to 82 percent in the 12 months ending in August, 2004 — up from 64 percent for the same period a year earlier and 33 percent two years ago, according to the report. Another market research firm, In-Stat/MDR, estimates that sales of hard disk-based players like the iPod will rise from 10.4 million units to 52.4 million units by 2007.
Opnieuw liggen persoonlijke gegevens van fraudeofficier J. Tonino op straat. Neukia.nl, een zogeheten weblog, zette maandag een concept e-mail van Tonino aan de Amsterdamse hoofdofficier L. de Wit, op haar site.
De site wist de inloggegevens van Tonino te kraken. Het Openbaar Ministerie gaat stappen ondernemen. ,,Het hacken van mail is een strafbaar feit en dat gaan we onderzoeken”, aldus maandag woordvoerder R. Meulenbroek.
En het overtreden van de regels door Tonino is dat niet? Wat is dit voor land?
De meeste supermarkten hebben het aloude afronden weer ingevoerd, om te voorkomen dat de losse cent als wisselgeld in de kassalade gehouden moet worden.
Toen dat gebeurde met de oude gulden waren er al een aantal mensen die dit niet leuk vonden, maar er kon weinig tegen gedaan worden.
Nu wel. Er is een groep grappenmakers die bij de kassa, als ze geconfronteerd worden met een bedrag dat op 5 cent eindigt, deze bijna contant afrekent. Men legt als laatste drie muntjes van 2 cent op de toonbank, en vraagt vervolgens wel om exact wisselgeld…
Last Sunday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off this week’s European tour by sitting down with a small group* of British journalists and dispensing pearls of wisdom, notably on the future of Apple in home networking (it has none, natch, says Steve). He also did at least one interview, with the Financial Times (published in Tuesday’s paper), remarkable largely because it inadvertently revealed the Microsoft High Command’s paucity of ideas – if this is all Steve’s currently betting the company on, then Microsoft is in big trouble.
Rick Cajigas holds his 23 pound Maine Coon cat as they wait to be judged at the Cat Show New York, October 9, 2004. The Cat Show New York features more than 40 feline breeds and 25,000 devoted cat lovers. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen
The Bush administration has promoted its education law with a video that comes across as a news story but fails to make clear the reporter involved was paid with taxpayer money.
The government used a similar approach this year in promoting the new Medicare law and drew a rebuke from the investigative arm of Congress, which found the videos amounted to propaganda in violation of federal law.
The Education Department also has paid for rankings of newspaper coverage of the No Child Left Behind law, a centerpiece of the president’s domestic agenda. Points are awarded for stories that say President Bush (news – web sites) and the Republican Party are strong on education, among other factors.
Paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve, star of ‘Superman’ and other movies, died, according to news reports, October 11, 2004. Reeve, 52, has been paralyzed from the neck down since suffering an irreversible neck injury after being thrown by a horse during an equestrian event in 1995. Reeve and wife Dana pose at The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation 13th Annual ‘A Magical Evening’ Gala in New York in this photo taken on November 24, 2003. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation is committed to funding research that develops treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. REUTERS/Marion Curtis/Files
A Bangladeshi Biman aircraft lies at an angle after it skidded off a rain-soaked runway, in Sylhet city, 192 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Oct. 8, 2004. The plane, carrying 87 people including five crew, hit a large puddle of water before veering off the runway injuring several people. (AP Photo/Ab Foisol)