Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, April 09, 2004  

Friday Satire


Affiliated Press International Writer

WASHINGTON (API)--After a successful joint appearance before the 9/11 Commission, the White House today announced new changes to its public face. Gone are solo appearances by the President and, to the shock of veteran reporters, recording devices during Presidential appearances. Pleased by the success of testimony given to the 9/11 Commission, the administration says in all future appearances, the President will be accompanied by a member of his senior cabinet. The change came after consultation with Alberto Gonzales, council to the President, who said the new policy will ensure "continuity of information flow."

The proposal, however, is only the first of two proposed changes the White House plans to enact in the run-up to the November election. Again, following a model set by the recent Commission appearance, the President will be instituting a new "pen and paper" policy. The new policy will eliminate all recording devices, including camera and microphone, during Presidential appearances. "We plan to go back to good old ink," Press Secretary Scott McClellan told a dumbfounded press corps. "It worked for Abraham Lincoln, and it will work for all of you."

This decision, which Democrats called "surreal," came after discussions with Gonzales over, surprisingly, the Kenneth Starr probe of Bill Clinton. McClellan read from a written statement prepared by Gonzales.

I would also like to take this occasion to offer an accommodation on another issue on which we have not yet reached an agreement--access to the President and his joint-appearer. I advise you that the President and his staff have agreed to participate in only joint private sessions with authorized press representatives who may take notes during these sessions.*

Added McClellan: "Look, we learned that everything becomes official testimony in the information age. President Clinton was prosecuted for a comment he made to the press about relations with Monica Lewinsky. We just can't take that risk in a post-9/11 world. This isn't an issue of privacy--national security is at stake." In future press conferences or Presidential appearances McClellan further explained, invited guests will be given those stubby little half-pencils and a pad of paper on which to take notes.

Democrats were more perplexed than outraged. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, asked about the proposal outside his Washington office, was caught speechless. Eventually he managed, "Huh," then asked: "Who do you work for, again? Is this a Daily Show stunt?" House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called it "bizarre," and said she'd return this reporter's call once she had spoken to Democratic council. (She had not returned the call when the article went to press.)

Following McClellan's announcement, the President took the microphone with Vice President Dick Cheney. After they conferred for a moment, Cheney told the assembled press, "Thank you all. We wanted to personally announce these changes while you all still had your cameras and microphones with you. This will be your last opportunity. Tomorrow it will be old school!" After which he and the President exchanged high-fives.

The President leaned forward and said "Thank you" clearly into the microphone. They will apparently be the last words the public will hear from him until November, at the earliest.

* Gonzales actually submitted wording for the Bush-Cheney joint appearance before the 9/11 Commission that was almost identical to this statement. I altered the words for the satire, which was, obviously, inspired by it: "I would also like to take this occasion to offer an accommodation on another issue on which we have not yet reached an agreement--Commission access to the President and Vice President. I am authorized to advise you that the President and Vice President have agreed to one joint private session with all 10 Commissioners, with one Commission staff member present to take notes of the session."

posted by Jeff | 1:40 PM |
Blogroll and Links