Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | January 22, 2003

Boxgate revealed

I'm a terrible blogger, **way** behind the curve. I mean, the story I'm discussing below was posted over five hours ago. Atrios tackled it four hours ago (or so). And the comment board denizens have been discussing it for at least several hours.

I mean, this news is so early afternoon. But what the heck. From the Reuters wire service:

Addressing employees at JS Logistics, a trucking and warehouse firm in St. Louis, Bush appealed to Congress to quickly pass his $674 billion tax cut package, including benefits for cash-strapped small businesses, "for the sake of economic vitality and growth."


Bush delivered his message in front of a fake wall of cardboard boxes stamped "Made in U.S.A." The real boxes, set to Bush's side, had their "Made in China" stamps blotted out.

The White House said it did not intend to cover up the markings on the boxes. "It appears it was an overzealous volunteer. We'll take it up with the appropriate channels," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said.

Not only is it significant that Reuters felt compelled to point to the sham boxes, but even more so that it did in the fourth graf of the piece. Previously, even mild criticism of the president was buried in the last graf of a news story. And for those of you unfamiliar with how wire journalism works, here's a quick primer:

News stories are generally written in the "inverted pyramid" style -- the most important stuff on top, and items of less importance (and most of the details) added below. Client newspapers will scan the Reuters (or AP) wires and select stories the editors finds of interest. Since newspapers have real space constraints, the wire story will simply be clipped from the bottom to fit the paper's space requirements.

If the negative stuff is at the bottom, it is likely to never see the light of day in any newspaper. With this particular story, however, an editor would have to have an ideological agenda to purge the "boxgate" content from the story. So in most papers, the tax-cut bashing quote from the "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities" will probably be cut, but not the hillarous box sham.

Can you all smell blood on the water? We're starting to get to the point where Bush can do no right. The "Bush is historically popular" storyline has run its course and is in its dying gasps. The "struggling Bush" storyline is starting to emerge, so watch journalists dig for any little thing that could further the new CW.

Pre-Lott, no story would've mentioned the "Made in China" boxes, but as I wrote earlier, it's a brand new political landscape.

Posted January 22, 2003 05:22 PM | Comments (60)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)