Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unsavvy

I think I've written on this topic before, complaining about the Bush administration's continued failure to show any sort of savvy whatsoever. Over the weekend, I've come across just a few more examples.

First, when Vice President Cheney accidentally shot the lawyer during the quail hunt, it's reported that for hours afterwards he sat alone on a bench outside the place where he was staying, sitting there alone, speaking to no one, just feeling horrible. Call me unsympathetic, but that would have been a perfect photo opp. Perhaps even in silhouette, the second-most powerful man in the world alone, crushed by a mistake he made, truly upset, hurting. Instead, all we hear is that someone's been shot and later Cheney refusing to even appear sympathetic, just being his usual surrly jerky self. Which is to the media's delight, posting old stock photos of him receiving a gun from the NRA.

Second, this whole port thing. Everyone is up in arms because an Arab company purchased the European country that was operating five or six major ports. It seems incredibly racist to be worried about this new company because they're Arab. Why were we not concerned when a European company operated the ports? I think that posturing now is too little, too late. Those ports should have never been out of U.S. control. But more troubling to many is that the new arrangements have already received the blessings of the Bush administration without those who would be affected even really realizing what was happening.

Third, Katrina. I think enough's been said here. It wasn't bad enough that it was really poorly handled, but then no attempts were made at all to actually convey what was occuring.

These just point again and again to the Bush administration's inability to realize that if you don't actually bother to be pro-active in your media image, you'll only be reactive and you never look as good when you're on the defensive. By then, the story's already been told, the bad light has already been cast and you're only being given the opportunity to explain why you screwed up/didn't think/etc., even if that's not what really happened.

This is the same thing I've railed against here in this job to no avail. If you're not savvy, you're always going to be back against the wall trying to defend against someone elses' version of the truth, even if it's not true at all.
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