Petulant policies

According to Friday’s New York Times, the Bush administration has a policy of sending out mass e-mails when there’s a news report it doesn’t agree with or when a Democrat makes a comment it doesn’t like.

Most recently, NBC was at the receiving end of this policy when it was accused of “deceitful editing” in its report of one of George W. Bush’s speeches. NBC replied to the accusation by explaining that the speech, in its untouched entirety, was available on its website and was scheduled to be broadcast on sister station MSNBC.

This policy of “setting the record straight,” is essentially the administration’s attempt to control how the media represents the White House.

But what the United States—and every country for that matter—needs is news sources that aren’t criticize, be it the average person or the president. In addition to reporting on events, the press needs the freedom to interpret those events within the context in which they happened.

That’s not to say the media shouldn’t be held accountable. On the contrary, the Bush administration has every right to call out reporters on factual errors and comments taken out of context. As a media source, we expect nothing less of our readers.

But it’s ridiculous for the White House to set the record straight after every disparaging, Democratic remark. The role of the opposition is to keep the government in check, and by definition, it’s unlikely to agree with everything a Republican government does or says.

This behaviour is childish and immature and makes the Bush administration look like nothing more than a petulant child.

The president should be focusing on more important issues —such as how to proceed in his last few months in office.

Besides, access to information is different than freedom to interpret it, which is what’s at stake when there’s a policy like “setting the record straight.”

Maybe if the Bush administration wasn’t so busy drafting e-mails, its members would have more time to focus on saying what they mean in the first place. If they presented themselves in a different light, they would be portrayed in a different light, but only working on defense isn’t going to win you the game.

And that’s what this seems to be to the White House: a big game of who said what to whom.

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