Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Bush Address 

I didn't get to hear the address until today, although I read the transcript yesterday. I was somewhat disappointed yesterday, because it did not appear that there was much new to offer.

However, to hear the address itself, I realized that a lot of the stuff I found to be familiar, if not a bit boring, is actually news to a lot of average Americans. Twelve Iraqi ministries under local control? I've read it before, but I doubt most people have any clue on it.

That is the importance of the speech: to spell out what the news media haven't reported on the progress in Iraq, thereby increasing confidence that the administration's plan in Iraq is working and will continue to work. There were no major changes in direction, but the fact that a direction is being given is a welcome counterattack to the image of a rudderless administration in Iraq. I would've favoured a larger troop deployment, though politically I see the problem of trying to square that the sovereignty plan.

Tellingly, though, when the goal is to bypass the media fog, the media will get in the way. No major US network, as far as I know, carried the broadcast. (I taped mine on CBC Newsworld, of all places, although I skipped their commentary.) Unlike, of course, last month's press conference, which consisted of a lot of reporters throwing in sound bites on quagmires and 9/11 coverups (does anyone still remember the 9/11 Commission?).
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