After Al Gore spoke out against war with Iraq, media pundits like Morton Kondracke and Linda Chavez outdid themselves inventing "disturbing contradictions" in his statements, raising questions about his motives and avoiding the merits of his arguments. "Remember -- the pursuit of facts plays almost no role in our devolving pundit culture," writes Bob Somerby."What does your pundit corps try to get right? They try to get their scripted spins right."
"Senior Republican Party officials say the prospect of at least two more weeks of Congressional debate on Iraq is allowing their party to run out the clock on the fall election, blocking Democrats as they try to seize on the faltering economy and other domestic concerns as campaign issues. ... The emerging dynamic has produced growing if quiet optimism among Republicans that they will be able to turn back the Democratic drive to take control of the House. ... Scott Reed, a Republican consultant, said: 'The secret to the election now is to beat the clock.
"If nothing else, the Bush administration has succeeded in making 'Should we attack Iraq?' the most-considered political question in the US today," observes PR Week.
There may be hope on the horizon, according to the New York Times, which reports that the "once-overwhelming influence of television advertising on political campaigns is declining," leading politicians "to embrace aggressively old-fashioned campaign tools like telephone calls and door-knocking in this year's Congressional elections." According to Missouri Democrat Richard Gephardt, "The amount of television and the proliferation of television channels is lessening the importance of television advertising over time.
"Sustainable Development is dead. Its demise came, ironically, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development," CorpWatch's Kenny Bruno writes in his report from the UN meeting in Johannesburg. "It's not that the phrase wasn't invoked. It was, ad nauseum. But it was hardly discussed. Instead, sustainable development was deemed to be whatever compromise governments happen to reach on trade, subsidies, investment and aid, and whatever projects corporations see fit to finance. 'Sustainable Development' is now officially meaningless."
A recently-released list of overnight guests at the White House shows that George W. Bush is following the precedent of Bill Clinton and inviting major political donors to sleepovers at the White House. The list of guests at the Bush White House includes six "pioneers" -- Bush supporters who raised more than $100,000 for his presidential campaign.
A fundraising letter from the Liberal Party in British Columbia, Canada, is "inviting people who work in public relations to donate $10,000 apiece at the same time that the provincial government is assessing contract proposals from the industry," reports the Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers. In addition to making direct cash donations, the letter invites PR firms to "build a fund-raising effort around an event or two -- events where we can invite clients or others for an intimate lunch or dinner with a key cabinet minister."
According to Harold Evans, the real mystery surrounding the president's shady stock dealings with Harken Energy is "why the watchdog media didn't bark during the 2000 presidential election, when new unflattering evidence emerged in the month before the vote. ...
The Spinsanity.org website has on occasion published insightful commentaries on misleading uses of political rhetoric in the United States. In July 2002, however, Spinsanity itself published a deceptive attack on the media watchdog organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). After FAIR criticized U.S.