Photo credit: Osman Orsal/Associated Press
Of course, BushCo! What? Who would you put in that fourth slot? Jefferson? FDR? Millard Fucking Fillmore? Well, that's why you're not working for the Office of Strategic Revisionism and Colonial Affairs and Karen Hughes is.
The above photo accompanies a Steven Weisman NYT story wrapping up Hughes' Magical Listening Tour. The article is a riot, mostly because it's a propaganda piece written about a propaganda mission and so we get gigantic contradictions (and inconvenient realities) smoothed over - like this: (emph mine)
A study two years ago by a panel led by Edward P. Djerejian, a retired diplomat, indicated that anti-American sentiments around the world had risen to alarming levels. Mr. Djerejian said recently that 80 percent of the hostility derived from American policies, especially on Israel, Iraq, the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison and the detention of people captured by the Americans at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
"Karen understands that 'it's the policies, stupid,' " Mr. Djerejian said in a recent interview. But the other 20 percent, he said, could be addressed by a sophisticated media strategy that Ms. Hughes should be able to provide. This trip, though, showed the problems she faces as well as the opportunities.
There's the lede, n'est-ce pas? We're aiming for a 20% success rate, which should push our approval in the Middle East to something around 27%. Our policies - endless war, peace through death and the wholesale looting of the region's resources - are set in stone. But that other 20%, the 20% that thinks we don't smile or hug hard enough, that's going to be ours.
To be fair, Mr. Weisman did mention the unavoidable: Mommy's messages aren't selling, proving that despite the stories of the Arab Street's readiness to buy into any conspiracy theory that floats into their airwaves, they are very good at spotting the differences between policies and propaganda, war and peace, hugs and dangerously simple-minded, condescending rhetoric. In other words, it doesn't matter if Mommy turns out to be a gal they'd want to have a beer with.
If only our electorate shared the same level of sophistication. But Mr. Weisman is on that too. He explains our gullibility as a design flaw in our system:
She addressed several policies, but in concise sound bites rather than sustained arguments. In American campaigns, such messages repeated over and over can have an effect because a presidential candidate dominates the news with every statement he makes, and if that fails to work, money can be poured into saturation advertising.
I told you the story was a riot. I wonder if his wife and the rest of the Kewl Kidz will appreciate being left out of the equation so completely and unfairly.