Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Where's The White House?

This past Sunday while flipping back and forth between the network political shows it occurred to me that the White House noise machine never appears on these shows anymore.

Going back to before the Iraq War, shows like Meet The Press, This Week and Face The Nation were the place to see top dogs of the White House spinning their story about why we should go to war. Appearances were made by Colin Powell, Condelezza Rice and Dick Cheney where they played the White House propaganda game. Cheney of course is now famous for his boisterous claims of Saddam Hussein's active nuclear weapons program.

The White House media players at this point are pretty much retired. Powell actually did retire and in an rare interview since then admitted as a mistake his United Nations speech outlining Iraq's so-called weapons of mass destruction. Rice has been promoted to Powell's old job as Secretary of State. Cheney is mostly just in an undisclosed location.

I don't suspect we'll be seeing in the next three years any more tours of the Sunday morning political talk circuit by White House propagandists. They usually only do these shows to push an agenda and the White House really has no agenda anymore. Besides, they probably don't like the fact that the pre-war lieing is all on tape to be replayed if and when they were ever to get brave and face the press again.

It seems the only White House person left to actually let the press ask a question is President Bush. Not that he gives real answers, but he's the only one stuck with answering for White House policy. Bush, as far as I know, never did appear on the Sunday shows even during the pre-Iraq War propaganda period.

Leaving Bush as essentially the only White House person to deal with the press (I'll get to White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan in a minute) seems like a mistake as Bush is often prone to stick foot in mouth. For instance just yesterday in Panama Bush answered a question in regards to reports of secret CIA prisons in foreign countries with the remark "We don't torture." This is hardly the truth unless you get down to semantics and parse the word "we" as being too vague. Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo (Gitmo) are already known and the press is snooping the CIA prison story so Bush's "We don't torture" statement may come back to haunt him.

As to McLellan, he has lost all credibility to the White House press corp after claiming that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove had nothing to do with the Plame leak case and then when questioned later about his claim, instead of admitting a mistake he hid behind "it's an on-going investigation" mantra. If you get a chance to catch a White House press briefing held by McLellan on C-SPAN (which will cover the entire briefing) these days, you can just feel the distrust of McLellan by reporters. I'm surprised McLellan still is the Press Secretary and hasn't either been replaced or resigned out of, well resignation at being viewed with so much distrust.

Currently the White House has no one but Bush really talking to the media and Bush seems reluctant to clean house and bring in some new faces. The White House seems to be a closed door building these days, and that only makes Americans and reporters wonder what's going on inside even more. Where's the White House? In Washington DC, but who knows what's going on inside.


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