Opinion: George H. W. Bush And Media Two-Facedness

By Shlomo Rudman. Since the death of America’s 41st President, George H.W. Bush, the media has been falling over themselves portraying him as a saintly figure, a man revered and esteemed by all throughout his long and illustrious life. They are correct in their current portrayal; Bush was a war hero, a statesman, a successful president, and a man known for his compassion and care for his fellow man.

But it wasn’t always like this. When Bush was still in politics, the mainstream media attacked him viciously, calling into question his motive on every benign move he made, and fabricating a multitude of egregious and offensive accusations. The media painted a public image of Bush as a jelly-legged politician – TIME ran a cover in which he was called a wimp. Others referred to him as “goofy” and a “pansy”. This about a man who, at just 20 years old, became the youngest naval aviator in the nation’s history, an individual made of steel of was shot down over the Pacific, lived to tell the tale, and continued serving his country.

Bush was a man of tremendous fortitude and an iron will to push forward even in the darkest of moments. After the death of his daughter Robin, who passed away from leukemia when she was just 3 years old, Bush didn’t fall apart. He renewed his commitment to his family, reinvigorated his dedication to his country, and fought on through the darkness and despair. But he didn’t just forget about her either. For years he wrote incredibly touching letters to and about her, notes which demonstrated his tender heart and soul. Bush also made a lifelong effort to eradicate children’s cancers, as the Bush Foundation noted in a tweet following his death.

While the media is happy to broadcast all of this now, it never treated him as such during his lifetime. Even his kindheartedness, obvious to all who saw him, was portrayed as a negative. The media ran articles in newspapers and segments on television questioning whether Bush was “too nice” to be president. The idea of Bush being “weak” became so pervasive in the media that even his own campaign began to push him to act differently, in an attempt to depict him as a tough fighter and alleviate media criticism.

This situation isn’t unique to Bush. The very same was seen with Senator McCain, another war hero who served his country for decades. For years he was mocked, chastises, and scolded by members of the mainstream media. It all magically changed once he died. McCain suddenly became a model figure, a person who embodied the heroic and compassionate nature of the nation at large. Clips from his 2008 presidential campaign surfaced, showing him to be good-hearted even to his opponent, Barack Obama, who vilified him, with help from the media, day in and day out.

The shameless two-facedness of the mainstream media is truly breathtaking at times, and never more than in these instances. When someone can on one day be the devil incarnate, and the next be the greatest gift to humanity, it shows the lack of seriousness and intellectual honesty on the part of the media.

But the bottom line is really quite simple and straightforward: as far as the media is concerned, the only good Republican is a dead Republican.

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  1. What a strange piece
    “goofy and a pansy”

    He WAS a goofy and a pansy.
    Are you suggesting that when he dies the proper thing would have been for the media to say “well there goes that goofy pansy”

  2. This happens with every president or politician who passes, regardless of party or ideology. I wonder why the author thought it would be different with this president?

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