Thursday, December 04, 2003
Air Force One’s imaginary intercontinental encounter with a British Airways jet, while trivial, illustrates an administration drunk on a hubris emboldened by dissolute journalism.
According to my well-thumbed and heavily underlined copy of Harriss and Johnson’s The Complete Reporter,“news is ‘an account of something that has happened’—something that, to distinguish it from fiction, has ‘actually happened’…for material that is characterized as human interest the reporter has gone beyond the event into the human background…These are not events but the background of events…An event acquires significance through its context of circumstances.”
Sealed in their Air Force One compartment and swaggered into a drama of top secret silence by White House Communications heavy Dan Bartlett, the ever status conscious press pool were spooned a Cliff-noted theme diet rich in the elements, tragically imaginary, of classic journalism.
Remember folks (wink, wink) these formerly ink-stained wretches are just so darned busy with their cable commitments and paid special interest group speeches.
This morning’s Washington Post, perhaps as an embarrassed mea culpa to the British Airways Thanksgiving fakery, further illustrates how, contrary to White House desires, events can acquire an unintended significance through the context of additional circumstances.
In the most widely published image…the beaming president...cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey…administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.
In an amusing and equally far-fetched echo of the Mission Accomplished finger pointing, Allen reports:
Officials said they did not know the turkey would be there or that Bush would pick it up.
Allen also offers a clue as to why the delicate palate of our secretive gourmet-in-chief didn’t sample the screened soldier’s holiday fare:
The 600 soldiers were served from cafeteria-style steam trays.
I imagine Mr. Bush’s heavily guarded and crocodile teary two-hour airport visit gave his personal chef a chance to whip up, in the gleaming Air Force One galley, something truly yummy for the return flight of our prop turkey and steam table weary Executive.
Photos: Boeing, Reuters