Friday, May 13, 2005

Bolton Spin Roundup

What is the political impact of how the Senate Committee handled John Bolton's nomination to the UN today?

It all depends on who you ask...

US Media
  • ABC says: Panel Sends Bolton Nomination to Senate

  • CNN says: Bolton Nomination Heads to Senate

  • CBS says: Panel Sends Bolton to Full Senate

  • Fox says: Split Panel Sends Bolton Vote to Senate

  • MSNBC says: Nomination of Bolton Heads to Full Senate
  • On the whole, my impression from reading these headlines (not the articles, mind you, simply the headlines) is that the Bolton nomination is making progress, moving forward, steamrolling ahead, proceeding according to (Bush's) plan. Only Fox's headline, oddly, hints that there may be a fly in the ointment. Otherwise, the impression is that the nomination juggernaut is bulldozing onwards.

    But what does the international press have to say?
  • Canada's CBC says: Bush suffers blow on choice of UN Envoy

  • The UK's BBC offers *three* articles (plus a none-too-flattering Profile on John Bolton):
  • 1. Bush Pressured to Drop UN Choice
    2. Bush Bruised by Bolton Controversy
    3. Pundits See Bolton Row Escalating
  • And, the UK Guardian offers a delightful one-two punch:
    1. Rebuff for Bush on UN Envoy
    2. And, calling it like it is: Bush Donor Set to be Envoy to UN
  • Bear in mind that the reason headlines are important are that most people will never read the articles. He who writes the headlines controls the spin. (I use "he" advisedely, since most people writing headlines today are, still, men.)

    In reading these sets of headlines from two different sources, we read two significantly different narratives. In the American news version (yes, that would be the Republican-owned, corporate media), Bolton's nomination has no connection to Bush, and, it is on the whole moving along swimmingly. In the Canadian and UK versions, the story is all about Bush, about the political flack around Bush's choice, and the damage Bush is taking--as well as the rea$on$ for Bolton's nomination.

    American news porn/infotainment/GOP propaganda should not be confused with news, as the term is understood in international circles. Constant exposure to American corporate media desensitizes even astute, informed readers to the constant subtext of "Republican victory is inevitable; resistance is futile"--regardless of the actual facts of the story, or the likely outcome of the events in question.

    Let this be a reminder to add some fact-fiber to your news diet: tune out the depressing din of the Republican disinformation machine, and turn on to international news coverage when you want to know what is really going on.