Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is Anybody Really Listening?

So I conducted an experiment tonight. I purposely didn't listen to President Bush's speech regard Iraq. I didn't watch it live, I didn't read any live-blogs, I didn't read the pre-released text. Instead, I decided I'd gauge the speech by the reviews on the web. Where shall I start?

How about at polipundit.com? Alexander McClure gave his analysis, noting, among other things:
3. Did he tie the Iraq War back to the War on Terror?

Yes, in a very eloquent conclusion, the President made the strongest case yet that the War on Terror will be fought and won, or fought and lost, in Iraq.

Overall, I thought it was an excellent speech. More on it later.

Lorie Byrd also added her thoughts here, starting with:

Excellent Speech

I agree with Mort Kondracke that tonight’s was one of George Bush’s best speeches.
Wow, I guess I missed a good one. OK, lets check Kos...I'm sure the view there must be just as positive:
Fake applause; speech numbers

ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did. So even the applause was fake.

Did the people at Kos watch the same speech? Hmmm. Better check CNN:
Seeking to turn around sagging public support for the war in Iraq, President Bush tonight told the American people that the sacrifices being made were "vital to the future security of our country."
And right below the story are links to two polls titled "Poll: U.S. war confidence slides" and " Poll: Bush disapproval hits high".

Things look grim indeed. I bet the boys at powerline must be upset:
Excellent Speech

Clear, confident, substantive. There was nothing in it that we and our readers didn't already know, but the message is one that many rarely hear. And the networks all carried it after all. That's good; President Bush nearly always does well when people see him, instead of seeing Democrats talking about him, as they will on the evening news.

The only thing I thought was odd was the unnatural quiet in the hall. It was like the audience at a Presidential debate, which has been cautioned not to express approval or disapproval. Only at the end, apparently, were the soldiers permitted to applaud.

Or not.

Can it be any more clear that people hear what they want to hear? I'm sure you are shocked that polipundit and powerline thought it was great speech and that kos and CNN thought it was more doom and gloom? About all I learned that was interesting was that the applause wasn't allowed (and it was interesting to see kos take it and run the other direction).

So I'm left asking: Is anybody really listening?

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