Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Winning means never having to admit you're wrong

From Media Matters:

On the September 11 edition of NBC's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, New York Times columnist David Brooks revealed that he has learned from private conversations with Bush officials who "represent" what "Bush believes" that from its earliest days, the Bush administration adopted a policy of shielding itself from political damage by never publicly admitting any mistake -- even if it meant lying to the media and the American public. The fact that Bush doesn't admit mistakes has been reported by the media for years. For instance, in the September 11 edition of The New York Times, David Sanger reported, "Mr. Bush, his aides acknowledge, is loath to fire members of his administration or to take public actions that are tantamount to an admission of a major mistake." Brooks himself has previously noted the Bush administration's unwillingness to admit to mistakes. But what Brooks's September 11 account adds is that Bush is being intentionally dishonest -- in Brooks's words, "totally tactical and totally insincere" -- in resisting such public admissions and in blaming others when failures are too obvious to deny.

Moreover, on the Matthews Show, Brooks disclosed that "from Day One," the Bush White House "decided our public relations is not going to be honest," and that "privately they admit mistakes all the time." Brooks's revelation would appear to be of major significance, particularly in light of recent attempts by Bush administration officials to shift culpability in the Hurricane Katrina disaster away from the White House. But while he claimed on the Matthews show to have debated this strategy with administration officials "since Day One" -- indicating that he has known about it from the beginning -- a review of his columns and television appearances since Katrina struck reveals that Brooks has refrained from telling viewers and readers that the administration's campaign to rehabilitate its public image over the poor handling of the Katrina crisis by blaming others was apparently another manifestation of this dishonest strategy.


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