.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Because wherever you go, there you are
Welcome NSA!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Emperor Has No Clothes

From Philly blogger Attytood:

George W. Bush is a man on a mission today: To remind the American people how they felt five years ago, when the public was understandably frightened by the killing of nearly 3,000 fellow citizens, and when the president briefly gained acceptance as a bullhorn-wielding leader.

Of course, the truth was anything but. Even on Day One, some of us -- too gently, in hindsight -- wondered about Bush's strange behavior on the actual 9/11, flying from remote airbase to remote airbase while Dick Cheney was running the show. Quickly, it because clear that any doubts about our commander-in-chief were flat-out forbidden. At least two journalists were fired for writing such stories. For example:

Tom Gutting, city editor for the Texas City Sun was fired in September 2001 after writing a column in which referred to President Bush as a "scared child seeking refuge in his mother's bed after having a nightmare" for not returning to Washington DC immediately after hearing about the attacks on September 11th.

The tone was set at the very top, when White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said famously that "[t]here are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and that this is not a time for remarks like that. It never is..."

Remarkably, most of the mainstream media obeyed. On the second anniversary of 9/11, in 2003, I wrote a story in the Daily News that, among other things, mentioned that Bush had spent at least five minutes reading "The Pet Goat" in that Sarasota classroom. It was an indisputable fact, and yet I received hundreds of emails from readers, many asking if I would be fired for reporting such a simple and inconvenient truth. When Michael Moore showed the actual footage in "Farhrenheit 911" months later, much of the nation was shocked to learn for the first time what really happened that day.

Not everyone was so surprised. In fact, the then-second graders that Bush read "The Pet Goat" to that morning clearly saw though the emperor's new clothes even while all the "grown-up" journalists did not. They realized that the ongoing attack had scared the living daylights out of their commander-in-chief: Here's what they say five years later:

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Tyler Radkey and other second-graders at Emma E. Booker Elementary School didn't know what to think when an aide leaned in and whispered something to President Bush on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"His face just started to turn red," said Tyler, now 13 and in seventh grade. "I thought, personally, he had to go to the bathroom."

For a puzzling seven minutes, the youngsters read aloud from the story "The Pet Goat" while the shaken president followed along in front of the class, trying to come to grips with what he had been told - that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center and the nation was under terrorist attack.

"He looked like he was going to cry," said Natalia Jones-Pinkney, now 12.

It's true what they say...from the mouths of babes. In fact, check out this stunning footnote:

Suddenly, the morning returned to the script. [then-Education Secretary] Paige spoke to the stunned room of the importance of reading.

"It was so surreal," Sarasota schools spokeswoman Sheila Weiss said. "Everyone in there wanted to get out and find out what was going on, but we couldn't leave."

Tonight, on national TV, and again and again in the coming weeks, Bush and Karl Rove and their minions will try to remind you about Bush's "leadership" on Sept. 11, 2001. When they do, just remember what the little children saw that morning.

The emperor had no clothes.


Post a Comment

<< Home