The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 17, 2004  

Visiting a Window Factory of Sorts

Somebody had better pull aside Associated Press reporter Scott Lindlaw and warn him he’s veering off script and out of character.

In a report published by the Philadelphia Inquirer today, Lindlaw actually looked behind the curtain, not only when President Walk On appeared in public but after he was shuffled off stage as well (“President Renews His Call for Permanent Tax Cuts”):

President Bush, brushing aside concerns about the budget deficit, yesterday renewed his demand that Congress extend his tax cuts, and contended that Democrats would raise taxes. […]

Bush spoke at a window factory, the latest such plant he has chosen to showcase what he says are the favorable impacts of his tax policies on small business. His makeshift stage was near the production floor, and he was flanked by small-business owners and an employee.

The White House bills these events as “conversations on the economy,” but there is never disagreement, only positive reinforcement of Bush’s message.

“Mr. President, we have to keep this tax cut,” said Sam Leto, chairman of Tampa Brass & Aluminum Corp.

Bush’s tour of the factory floor was also highly stage-managed. As he entered, a half-dozen workers were steadily polishing windows, as if Bush had walked into an ordinary shift on Presidents’ Day. News cameras snapped away as Bush picked up a caulking gun and hugged workers.

Five minutes after Bush and his entourage of journalists left, the factory floor was deserted, and there was no sign later in the day that production had resumed.

Lindlaw actually had the audacity to say outright that the appearance was “highly stage-managed.” He also implied the President and his minions were scripted. He alluded to the use of props: windows, caulking gun, “flanked by . . . an employee.” And he hinted extras were employed on some kind of per diem.

Reading Lindlaw’s story was almost like being there, seeing the event as it really happened and in its complete context.

Who does he think he is? A reporter or something?

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