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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Progressive News - Is Bush Wired? by Rory O'Conner

Progressive News - Is Bush Wired? by Rory O'Conner: "Is Bush Wired?
by Rory O'Conner

published by MediaChannel.Org

Is Bush Wired?

Is President Bush being fed lines through an earpiece in his meetings with the press and other public appearances? It may sound crazy, but many people have reported actually hearing, from time to time, another voice, as if on an audio feed, saying what President Bush then repeats several seconds later.

Since we live in an "information age," inevitably an entire new website -- www.isbushwired.com -- is now devoted to discussion of the anomalies surrounding Bush's often awkward style of public speaking, and to the persistent reports that at least some live Bush broadcasts have included another voice seeming to prompt the President's responses.

As "The Voice in Bush's Ear," a recent posting on the website, explained:

"This site is a clearinghouse for discussion of whether President Bush uses an earpiece through which he's fed lines and cues by offstage advisers. His speech rhythms suggest this, as do some of his word choices and interjections, and his constantly shifting eye movements while speaking. And there's another form of evidence: Television viewers have sometimes heard another voice speaking Bush's words before he says them. "

Mine Bush and Kerry speeches for the message behind the spin.
One example is from when Bush spoke at D-Day ceremonies in France last June. As the site notes, "viewers watching on CNN, Fox and MSNBCŠ were startled to hear another voice speaking Bush's words as if to prompt him. " Some said this continued into the question-and-answer period.

Here's another example: when Bush appeared on television to address the nation on 9/11, some viewers of television stations in Quincy, Massachusetts and New York City say they heard another voice speaking, slowly and carefully, a few words at a time -- words which were then recited by the president. As one Quincy resident reported, "The voice was nondescript, male, definitely not the president's voice."

"Reporters should have looked into this long ago," the Isbushwired site proclaims. But to date the press has failed to ask whether the president secretly relies on unseen handlers for public events and press conferences.

So I decided to investigate, and went directly to the top -- to Mark McKinnon, Media Director for the George W. Bush re-election campaign. McKinnon is by most accounts one of the top media strategists and image-makers in the business, having helped to elect a slew of Democrats before switching sides and successfully running media operations for Bush's first presidential campaign in 2000. Although now a died-in-the-wool convert, McKinnon is different from many Bush operatives in that he is open, responsive, and often displays a keen sense of humor, as evidenced by his emailed response to my query:

"I love this. Am tempted to say, 'I cannot confirm or deny,' and let the story get some legs. Or, how about, 'Since we put the metal plate in his head, we have had some measure of success with audio transmissions to the President.' Or, 'Yeah, but it clearly broke down during the debate.'"

McKinnon continues: "Unfortunately, the truth is not nearly as interesting. The answer is, 'The President has never been assisted by any audio signal.'"

So the official denial is now on the record. Any readers or viewers who think they can prove otherwise please do so. Any bloggers or chatters who can offer more than conspiracy theories -- see dailykos.com (Sat Jun 5th, 2004 at 18:43:30 GMT) and rense.com as well as postings on Salon.com and the Washington Monthly online -- please do so immediately. And any media professionals - like the "top Washington editor for Reuters" who reportedly told isbushwired last spring that "Sure, Bush uses an earpiece sometimes. State of the Union -- he had an earpiece for that. Everybody knows it." -- please identify yourselves."