George Packer on BO’s First Presser

In musing over how the President Elect can avoid lousing up his press relations, George Packer reminds us that although Obama’s coummunications shop has been chummier with the Fourth Estate than was Bush’s, it’s been no less disciplined.  And he issues this interesting observation-cum-admonition.  Speaking of Bush 43’s penchant for “strategic communications”:

It was worse than a simple breakdown of trust. The problem with strategic communications is that the White House that lives by it slowly becomes incapable of dealing with reality. When bad news comes, the impulse is to deny it, and that impulse turns into a mental habit. Eventually, those in power are the last to figure out the truth (in this sense, Katrina was a direct result of the kind of mentality that had already led to disaster in Iraq). The Administration can’t answer the arguments of its critics because it has long since stopped listening to them. It finds itself increasingly isolated, not just from potential supporters, but from the truth.

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