Tuesday, June 26, 2007

White House Using President's Biography To Spread Political Propaganda

I found myself reflecting on what a miserable failure Bush is today, and decided to see if the whole Google bomb thing was still going on. Sadly, it's not. However, if you read the president's biography on WhiteHouse.Gov (as of today) you'll find a very glowing review of his mediocre presidency. It's also riddled framed terminology designed to spread party propaganda. Here's an annotated text of the biography with the propaganda terms (at least the ones I caught) in bold:
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, re-elected1 on November 2, 2004, and sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005. Prior to his Presidency, President Bush served for 6 years as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, where he earned a reputation for bipartisanship2 and as a compassionate conservative3 who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government,4 personal responsibility, strong families, and local control.

President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business.5 After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush assembled the group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989.6 On November 8, 1994, President Bush was elected Governor of Texas. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive 4-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998.

Since becoming President of the United States in 2001, President Bush has worked with the Congress to create an ownership society and build a future of security, prosperity, and opportunity for all Americans.7 He signed into law tax relief that helps workers keep more of their hard-earned money, as well as the most comprehensive education reforms in a generation, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This legislation is ushering in a new era of accountability, flexibility, local control, and more choices for parents, affirming our Nation’s fundamental belief in the promise of every child. President Bush has also worked to improve healthcare and modernize Medicare, providing the first-ever prescription drug benefit for seniors; increase homeownership, especially among minorities; conserve our environment8; and increase military strength, pay, and benefits. Because President Bush believes the strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens, he has supported programs that encourage individuals to help their neighbors in need.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our Nation. Since then, President Bush has taken unprecedented steps to protect our homeland and create a world free from terror. He is grateful for the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. The President is confident that by helping build free and prosperous societies, our Nation and our friends and allies will succeed in making America more secure and the world more peaceful.

President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. The Bush family also includes two dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat, Willie.
One could only hope that someday a future administration will replace the above with a more accurate biography.

Notes

  1. Implies he was elected the first time around. The result of the original election was closely contested, and an honest result likely wouldn't have been in Bush's favor.
  2. Also debatable, although Bush wasn't really well-known outside of Texas before he was elected. His father was something of a high-level bureaucrat within the government and Republican Party apparatus, however. Oh, his father was also president from 1989-1993 and is also named George Bush.
  3. Bush's administration has cut back benefits to the poor. Bush also supports the death penalty, and opposes life-saving stem cell research. "Compassionate" is an interesting term to use.
  4. This term is especially interesting. While Bush has cut taxes and privatized government functions, he has also expanded the federal budget to a record size and increased national debt drastically. Some of the functions formerly handled by the civil service have been bidded off to contractors. This has, ironically, raised costs and decreased efficiency in some cases (although it arguably decreased the size of the government).
  5. If memory serves, he never really had a single successful drilling venture.
  6. Bush was likely benefitting from his father's connections. Either way, this venture made him quite wealthy when the team was sold. However, the idea that Bush took a strong leadership role in this venture is unlikely.
  7. While only the term "ownership society" in this section constitutes an example of carefully crafted, framed propaganda, the rest of the sentence is interesting too: Bush's actions have enraged large portions of the world, and his war in Iraq has proven to be a spectacle of American weakness. Likewise, his cuts to benefit programs have likely reduced opportunity and most certainly have increased poverty.
  8. Here we have an outright lie.

1 comment:

Rina said...

Thanks for writing this.