Last week, prime time entertainment was interrupted to cover a live address from President George W. Bush instead.
Bush’s garb and location wrongly portrayed the president as being in the field, which he was not, and was supposed to inform Americans about the situation in Iraq, which also was not adequately done, as there was no substance to the speech.
Though the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was only 39 miles off the shore of California, the president felt it necessary to arrive in a fighter jet. White House officials declared this unavoidable as the carrier was out of reach for a helicopter, but critics have said that this was not the case and that a helicopter could have easily reached it.
It is far more impressive to see a president dramatically land in a fighter and exit fully clad in fighter pilot gear, than it would be to see him hop out of a helicopter. Similar to his recent visit to Mac Dill Air Force Base, the event could not have been more visually impressive.
To add further to the illusion that the president was out in the field, the carrier’s position was altered so the backdrop behind the president did not show the California coastline
Of course, the president stayed the night on the carrier then arrived triumphantly in San Diego the next morning, disembarking with troops who had risked their lives in Iraq.
As Time magazine put it, it was the “perfect photo op” and will no doubt be recalled when voters will step into the voting booth next year.
Instead of modestly acknowledging the contribution of the armed forces, Bush used the occasion to boost his own popularity. At the time of the president’s address, neither Saddam Hussein nor the weapons of mass destruction that Colin Powell claimed in his speech in front of the United Nations on Feb. 5 had been unearthed.
The American public and most of the media apparently do not care, as questions about the weapons alleged whereabouts and why none yet have been found are not asked as of late.
The president now has been seen on national television as the White House wants him to appear: in control and getting things done.
It really was “must-see” television.