the politics of terror

Keith Olbermann did a strange, depressing and clearly biased bit tonight on the Nexus of Politics and Terror. His working thesis: 13 times when bad news for the Bush administration has come along uncoincidentally a few days later they’ve announced some sort of terror warning or development. Watch the video: windows media player and quicktime.

While I have serious doubts about Olbermann’s thesis, the impact of watching what is essentially the Bush Administration’s “Worst Hits” is incredibly depressing and reminds me of the incredible disconnect between modern American politics and any sort of reality.

UPDATE: By the way, if Olbermann’s hypothesis is correct we should be expecting something any day now.


One response to “the politics of terror

  1. ‘Bias’ is not a word to throw around so lightly, especially given the Ridge quote and other bits of evidence that politics plays an inordinate part in this stuff — ‘WAG THE DOG’ being the shorthand.

    Recall Tom Ridge, 8/1/04: “we must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the president’s leadership in the war against terror. The reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan.”

    Thursday, August 05, 2004
    Chart: Bush Ratings vs. Terror Alerts

    I have put together a chart comparing Bush approval numbers to the timeline of terror alerts. (Thanks to Stuart Eugene Thiel for the amazing daily graphics that he prepares, comparing the approval ratings from different polls and media sources.) You can see it by clicking in the graphic below:

    Click here to view the chart of Bush approval vs. terror alerts

    There are few things that are quite evident from the chart:

    – Whenever his ratings dip, there’s a new terror alert.

    – Every terror alert is followed by a slight uptick of Bush approval ratings.

    – Whenever there are many unfavorable headlines, there’s another alert or announcement (distraction effect).

    – As we approach the 2004 elections, the number and frequency of terror alerts keeps growing, to the point that they collapse in the graphic. At the same time, Bush ratings are lower than ever.

    Update: for the record, we are not claiming that all these alerts are politically motivated. We are sure a considerable amount of these alerts were legit and caused by real and immediate information of potential threats. What is important to note is that many of these “immediate” terror alerts were later on discredited (in some cases they used old data, in other cases the announcements were less immediate and less urgent that we were lead to believe, as the press reported.) Those are the cases that could be interpreted as politically motivated, especially when they seemed to coincide with political news and events unfavorable to the administration.

    –from JuliusBlog

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