|October 13, 2004|
Debate Update: He's Got Back, But the Media Has No Spine: The Battle of Bush's Bulge
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
The third debate is upon us and the pundit heads are indicating, amidst a Kerry rise in the polls, that the election is riding on it.
But to many BuzzFlash readers, the most immediate question has been what rectangular object was riding on Bush's back in the first debate? (There are photos now showing up indicating the appearance of the object in other settings, including a Salon article that shows a similar configuration under Bush's T-shirt while he was talking to a reporter from his ranch "showmobile," and a more rounded object on his back in the second debate.)
Yes, the mainstream press has jumped to the conclusion that Internet "conspiratorialists" are behind the notion that the box was a receiver for a prompting device such as this one [LINK]. Hmmm, so the same mainstream press that will report any bit of garbage tossed at them by Matt Drudge, the gay guy who supports gay haters, laughingly dismisses a rectangular object that is clearly visible on Bush's back during the first debate.
Now, mind you that the White House laughed at the notion that Bush would need any prompting. A White House spokesman first wouldn't comment on what has come to be known as "the bulge" for two days after the debate. They clearly wanted the story to die an Internet death. When Internet speculation finally broke into the foreign press, the White House denied that Bush had anything on beneath his suit jacket other than his shirt. Then they brought his French tailor out (ain't that ironic) to declare the rectangular object was just -- get this -- a pucker. There were chuckles all around the press corps, just your average $2000 suit bunching in the back! What a laugh!
What a laugh indeed. It took a British paper and then the New York Daily News to point out that the likelihood of an expensive suit "puckering" into a rectangular box shape in the middle of the wearer's back while being stretched out was about zero. In fact, the chances of a rectangular "pucker" in the middle of the wearer's back was about zero to none, in any case but there being a rectangular object underneath the jacket.
Of course, the extremely odd explanation of the White House tailor was enough for the mainstream press. Whatever the White House says is the truth, after all, if you define the truth as being a lie. I mean, here we have a photograph that clearly shows a rectangular object in the middle of Bush's back, during a debate when the Bush people had prohibited shots of the backs of candidates (which the networks fortunately violated), and the mainstream press says to us, in essence, you are a "conspiratorialist" if you think what you actually see actually exists.
Yeah, that's some press corps. You believe in wild things if you trust your own eyes.
Well, here's a challenge to the press corps. Since there is indisputably a rectangular object of significant size on Bush's back during the first debate, and since Salon magazine showed another shot of its appearance, wouldn't the role of a journalist be to ask the White House, "Well, if it's not a receiver that is sending prompts to Bush, then what the heck is it?"
No, that would be impolite, wouldn't it? That might get one banished to a back seat in the small White House press briefing room.
Let's just wonder if the slime (Drudge) report posted a photo of Kerry with such an object on his back, would the press laugh it off as a sartorial pucker? No, they would keep it alive for days, incited on by "the sludge report," Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. They wouldn't stop with pucker talk. That's for sure. It would be a full-blown scandal.
By the time the mainstream media got finished with a device prominently placed on Kerry's back during a debate, most of the country would be convinced that Teddy Kennedy was feeding him debate points.
But George W. Bush has a device on his back, very much shaped like a receiver, and the mainstream press isn't even curious as to what it might be.
That's the mainstream double standard for the press. If Bush wants to play Quasimodo for the night, that's cool, no questions asked. But if Kerry shows up with a hunchback, it's Jane Fonda who is whispering sweet little soundbites into his ear courtesy of Ho Chi Minh. Just tell us we're wrong.
At the least, you would think the well-fed and wined White House press corps might be curious as to what that box like thingy was. Wouldn't you?
If it's not a receiver, then what was it?
Oh, don't ask a reporter to ask such questions of Furious George.
The White House never lies, right?
So, even if every other tailor who has been quoted says that it couldn't be a pucker and it was some sort of object, there's a martini or margarita waiting at some bar for the political reporters who cover Bush.
And time's a wastin'.
Besides, too much knowledge can ruin a comfy career and salary in D.C.
You never want to step over the line and actually find out the truth behind the true lies.
Is that Karl Rove's echo we hear?
Oh, never mind. Maybe this debate, Bush will just use cue cards.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL