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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The GOP headline project 

Josh Marshall writes about the recent Financial Times story about how there really was uranium evidence after all.
What is happening here is this: Rove and the GOP are getting their ducks in a row. One by one, they're getting SOMEONE to publish refutations of all of their problem areas -- no WDM, no uranium, no links between Hussein and 9-11 -- as news stories. Many of these have been in the New York Times, but some are being slipped in elsewhere.
Now, it doesn't matter to Rove or the GOP that these stories make no sense -- as Marshall points out about the uranium story, don't you think that if the Bush administration had had any evidence whatsoever of Iraq yellowcake interest, they would have used it a year ago when Wilson hit the news? And it doesn't matter whether the stories are actually proven wrong the next day -- remember the one where Putin supposedly told Washington a year ago that Hussein was behind 9/11, and the State Department replied "Huh?" And it doesn't matter whether there is any follow-up on the stories, or whether any other media print or broadcast them. The Putin story, for example, was widely seen as a joke two days after it appeared.
The point is only to make sure that one story gets published.
So now, when Bush is asked on the campaign trail about all these probems, he can state, truthfully, that major media outlets have published stories confirming the truth of his claims. And they can use the headlines in their ads, too.
Watch for more of these types of stories in the coming months. You will recognize them by how conveniently their headlines dovetail with the Bush reelection slogans.
So now I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more foreign affairs headlines coming soon, perhaps about how grateful the former soviet satellite states are for Bush's strong leadership. I predict we will also be seeing headlines aimed to the domestic agenda -- how well the No Child Left Behind act is going, how grateful seniors are for their drug benefit, and how any day now there will be a ton of new jobs for everyone.
It doesn't matter what the truth is, just what the headlines are.

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