In today's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz takes on Bush's controversial 9/11-themed ads and discovers a major scandal: "The commercial offers no proof for the assertion that the country is 'turning the corner' or is 'safer' and 'stronger" today." Egads! If only Kurtz had been around to play professional skeptic against previous campaigns:
• The commercial contains no evidence for the claim that it is "morning" in "America;" in fact, when it is morning on the East Coast, it is still the middle of the night in California.
•Though the images would have you believe otherwise, no nuclear attack has been launched on the United States as a girl pulls the petals off of a daisy.
As for the aspects of the 9/11 ads that, you know, the firefighters and families of victims care about (even Kurtz's dad, we learn, feels the footage is inappropriate) -- well, Kurtz is more sanguine. Last Friday he wrote: "Should Sept. 11, the most significant day of the Bush presidency, be completely off limits?" And concludes by shrugging, hey, everyone does it:
- When Kerry campaigns across the country and blasts Bush for not doing enough on homeland security, isn't he also using 9/11 to score political points?
When the Kerry team responds to the ad by saying Bush has left most firehouses unable to respond to 9/11-style emergencies, is that any less political than the president reminding us of the crisis he dealt with?
When Democrats demanded a homeland security department, and Bush dropped his opposition and then assailed the Dems for insisting on standard civil service rules, weren't both sides using the issue politically?
It's a great point, really: See, criticizing a policy is actually the same thing as brandishing cheap symbolism while making (as Kurtz observed) empty claims. And vice-versa. Sort of like how filling copy inches with conflicting minutiae makes Kurtz an authoritative media critic.
Media Notes Extra [WashingtonPost.com -- no permalinks]