Monday, September 19, 2005

Misuse Of Presidential Power

When speaking for the camera, President Bush favors iconic backdrops that suggest patriotism (soldiers), religious faith (churches) and, sometimes, wishful thinking (“Mission Accomplished”).

When the president spoke to the nation on the evening of September 15 about his Hurricane Katrina reconstruction plans he did so from Jackson Square in New Orleans. His backdrop for the live TV address was St. Louis Cathedral.

Apart from the power needed to run the cameras, microphone, etc., additional power was used to make sure we could see that lovely cathedral behind him. At the top of the broadcast, commentators said the White House was supplying power for the address, which led me to picture an extension cord running from D.C. to N.O.

Not only was it waste of energy – in a city with virtually none – to light up a church for the telecast, it was a wasted opportunity for Bush to show New Orleans as it really now appears. But he chose a dry, pretty spot instead.

If the president and/or his people had been thinking, they would have quickly set up a couple of work lights and placed him in front of a pile of rubble, not in front of a cathedral lit in a cool, cinematic blue. The bleak appearance, devoid of productions values, might have actually benefited Bush.

By showing him in the thick of the disaster, they could have represented the president as someone not detached from its effects, as he's been accused of being. On the contrary, nothing we saw (versus heard) in the broadcast indicated a city in trouble, much less one that had almost been destroyed. Business as usual. Nothing to see here.

In any future disaster "productions," I hope whoever’s in charge will focus less on the scenery and more on the weakness of the script.

1 comment:

presidentbobo said...

You may have found a niche with this commentary. It was keen of you to notice that the set design in the president's address reflects an ongoing "disconnect" with the plight of America's poor. The "disconnect" is a reflection of the radically different political and societal realities between the poor and our rich, white oil rancher president. The poor aren't with the program. They didn't get the memo about trickle down economics. They sure as hell are neck deep in poverty though. Poverty doesn't buy much political clout. The truth of the matter is the poor aren't with us...and if they aren't with us they must be terrorists. Right wing nutlogs are quick to pioint out that N.O. deserved what they got...screw the poor if they got in the way of God's retribution. God isn't about the poor...he helps those that help themselves or inherit their wealth.