Sunday, June 10, 2007

Here's a paragraph from an article about Bush's visit with the Pope in the Sunday New York Times; the article focuses on the discussions Bush and the Pope had about Iraq:

Until Saturday, talk of Iraq had been largely missing from Mr. Bush's eight-day, six-country European tour. There was little talk of it in Prague, where Mr. Bush emphasized his freedom agenda, or in Heiligendamm, Germany, where leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations turned their attention to climate change and aid to poor nations, or in Poland, where missile defense was the central issue.

Wait -- what was that in the second sentence?

There was little talk of it in Prague, where Mr. Bush emphasized his freedom agenda....

Excuse me -- this is supposed to be a straight news story. Why does the phrase "freedom agenda" appear as if it's a simple descriptive noun -- rather than the propaganda slogan it actually is?

This isn't the first time the phrase has been treated this way in the Times -- back in September, a Times blog post referred to "the president's spooling out of a freedom agenda this week."

Not treating this phrase as a propaganda slogan is like using "morning in America" as a factual description of America near the end of Reagan's first term, or using "America's mayor" as a neutral way to describe Rudy Giuliani. (Oh, wait -- plenty of reporters actually do that with Giuliani.) I shouldn't expect Beltway reporters to grasp this -- their minds are easily colonized -- but it would be nice if they could resist internalizing the sloganeering.


(Yeah, I'm back -- thanks again, guest bloggers....)

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