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Inside the Beltway
Question of the Day
Alas, poor Jane. When home shopping network QVC canceled a July 16 appearance to promote “Primetime,” her new book on aging, Jane Fonda took to her blog, complaining that the broadcaster had capitulated to “well funded and organized political extremist groups” still unhappy with her 1972 visit to North Vietnam.
Miss Fonda, 73, then posted a 4,200-word entry titled, “The Truth About My Trip to Hanoi,” addressing her role as a “traitor,” media spin and emphasizing, “my anger back then was at the Nixon administration.” She later added a blog entry about “forgiveness.” But the actress still hasn’t been asked back to QVC.
“Jane Fonda has lived to be old enough to be allowed a sneak peek at her legacy and she apparently doesn’t like what she’s seeing,” says BigHollywood.com correspondent John Nolte. “Unfortunately for Fonda, when it comes to most things, we Americans really are a forgiving bunch. Especially in the arenas of personal, sexual and bad boyish behavior.”
Mr. Nolte continues, “Something we’re not as forgiving about, however, is the betrayal of our country or the appeasing of an enemy. Fair or not, this is something that will forever haunt the legacies of Joe Kennedy Sr. and Charles Lindbergh. And so it will with Jane Fonda.”
White House “scare tactics” about the debt-ceiling deadline are stale. The public did not dutifully buy into President Obama’s suggestions that the stalemate could yield disaster. So talking points changed. The blame game was reinstated with a psychobabble twist: The White House word of choice to be weaponized is now “dysfunctional,” launched during Mr. Obama’s speech Monday night when he intoned that the American people “didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.”
Bingo. The obliging press embraced the narrative. In 72 hours, much is “dysfunctional,” from Congress, to Republicans to the debate itself — repeated in a fierce feedback loop. How often? Try 1,300 mentions for “dysfunctional Congress,” another 1,300 for “dysfunctional Republicans” and 654 for “dysfunctional politics” in recent news stories, this according to an informal Google News count.
He chose the National Geographic Channel to speak about the unspeakable: Former President George W. Bush shares his first ever personal account of 9/11 as the nation faces the 10-year anniversary of the terror attacks, and the inevitable welter of news stories and TV specials. Such coverage may devolve into partisan high jinks, a showcase for the blame-America crowd or mawkish hand-wringing. Or maybe not.
“There were no politics, no agenda as he recalled what happened that day,” says Peter Schnall, executive producer of Partisan Pictures — the company behind the film — and the man who conducted the two-day interview with Mr. Bush.
“What you hear is the personal story of a man who also happened to be our president. Listening to him describe how he grappled with a sense of anger and frustration coupled with his personal mandate to lead our country through this devastating attack was incredibly powerful,” Mr. Schnall observes.
“It was like walking into hell,” Mr. Bush says in film, of his visit to still smoking ground zero. The documentary premieres Aug. 28.
“His Jello-Ness, the president. In the debate over our debt, President Obama has stood for nothing and fallen for anything politically convenient.”
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