March 29, 2003
The Art of Lying in Politics
The Bush Administration's media manipulation skills never ceases to amaze me. As the war in Iraq skewers away from the chickenhawks dream plans its starting to become clearer just how the Karl Rove media technique works. Its all pretty simple really, it can be broken down into 3 steps:
- Keep the message simple
- Keep the details secret
- Never admit you are wrong
Follow those steps and you look like you are doing a good job in the mass media. Up close or under close scrutiny all the lying and bullshitting the administration engages in is pretty evident. But when broadcast over mass media it looks like the administration is right on track.
Never admitting you are wrong is the most important step. Once you admit you are wrong your words become circumspect when broadcast. Bush always maintains that things are going well, and because he never entertains the possibility of being wrong, he projects and image of being right and believable. Not everyone buys it off course, but in the mass media and winner takes all democracy all you need is a healthy percentage of the population to buy it.
Clinton used this technique as well, but not quite as deftly as Bush. Clinton's problem was the details, he was too willing to dig into them. Once the details are out its harder to maintain the image of always being right. And Clinton missed the secrecy as well, Bush keeps as much info secret as possible so there are less details to complicate the projection of being right.
Perhaps the greatest tactical failing of the Bush administration is the way they've let the success of these media techniques infect their attempts at diplomacy. These techniques work when broadcast in the media, as I said before they fail completely when used up close and in person. They just don't work in diplomacy, hence the outrageous failings of the Bush administration in the UN, Turkey and elsewhere.
Worst part of it all is that now the world hates America, and Bush is still sitting pretty at home. I think (hope) I can handle 2 more years of this crap, but if he gets 4 more beyond that then I don't know...Posted by Abe at March 29, 2003 04:53 PM