Annals of egregious Bumillerism …
Over the last few days a lot of folks have noted the fact that President Bush went about his normal political schedule as usual until well after New Orleans had sunk, literally and figuratively, into disaster. Many have linked to the picture of the president giving a strum to a guitar emblazoned with a presidential seal on Tuesday, with country music star in the background.
In her piece today Bumiller sets the record straight …
Bloggers also circulated a picture of Mr. Bush playing a guitar at an event in California on Tuesday to imply that he was fiddling while New Orleans drowned. In fact, the picture was taken when the country singer Mark Wills presented Mr. Bush with a guitar backstage at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif., after Mr. Bush gave a speech marking the 60th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II.
Later that day, as floodwaters poured into New Orleans, Mr. Bush returned to his ranch in Texas, then left from his ranch for Washington on Wednesday morning.
This is good stuff. You mean to tell <$Ad$> me that the president wasn’t actually photographed in the midst of an impromptu jam session on the San Diego trip like we were all led to believe?
Suddenly everything seems different.
This really is an example of how some instances of special pleading are too grasping and silly for the White House to use themselves. So they pass it off to a compliant White House reporter.
Let’s stipulate that the president did not give a guitar performance or rock out on Tuesday. The point of those who’ve showcased the picture is that it demonstrates (in quite a damaging way, the White House seems to think) that the president was business as usual well after everyone else in the country knew we had an historic disaster on our hands.
Sometimes images give a misleading impression of the underlying reality. This doesn’t seem to be one of those cases.