(PU) Amid growing concern over military losses in Iraq and reports that the US might broaden its presence in the Persian Gulf by attacking Iran, President George W. Bush today called an emergency press conference at the Pentagon. His purpose, he said, was to alert Americans everywhere to the “nondisputable” fact that, regardless of her troubled past, it was “good” that deceased sexpot Anna Nicole Smith got a “decent burial.”
Stating that he had read “loads” about Ms. Smith’s unfortunate life, the President delivered a heartfelt, thirty-minute disquisition on little-known “factoids” about the starlet. “Although she is now lost to us,” concluded Mr. Bush, dabbing his eyes with a moist handkerchief, “we take comfort in the fact that Anna Nicole — nee Vickie Lynn Hogan — was born and raised in Texas.” Pausing to regain his composure, Mr. Bush cleared his throat and asked, “Any questions?”
The President recognized a reporter from the Associated Press.
“Mr. President,” the reporter began, clutching his notepad, “according to Seymour Hersh in the recent New Yorker, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have created a contingency plan for bombing Iran that can be implemented within 24 hours on orders from you –“
“This plan,” interrupted a Reuters journalist, “allows for an attack order this spring. Can you guarantee there is no nuclear option?”
The President lowered his head in thought, pinching the bridge of his nose, before speaking. “You know, I really enjoyed Ellen DeGeneres on the Oscars the other night. It’s time this country appreciated the artistic contributions of lesbians. As long as they don’t try to get married.”
“Mr. President!” shouted a stringer for The Indypendent, “isn’t it true that, in 2003, Iran sent the American government a secret offer to negotiate, with the intent of normalizing relations? Evidently, Karl Rove received a copy of this proposal — why has Condoleezza Rice denied seeing it?”
Mr. Bush chuckled amiably. “You know, those kids on American Idol are all so darn good, I can’t decide who I like best. And I’m the decider. That’s funny. So I go around listening to their songs on my new iPod. See? Mine’s wasabi green, the color that’s taken the fashion world by storm. Now, I believe, if you folks’ll look in your press packets, you’ll find there’s an iPod for each and every one of you.”
From her seat in the second row, Helen Thomas, veteran White House correspondent, stood up. “We know what you’re doing, Mr. Bush,” Thomas said.
Thomas, who has, from the front row, covered every president since John Kennedy, was recently moved back to make room for a cable TV channel. She continued: “You’re railroading your horrific oil and empire agenda by buying off the press and urging the American people to focus on mindless, consumerist drivel. It’s a calculated plan.”
“Sit down, Helen,” said the President, decisively.
It is commonly felt that, as events in the real world become more ominous, Americans usually become more obsessed with the latest fashions, celebrity scandals, sports, and human-interest stories. However, major intellectuals say there is no evidence to suggest that these trends are anything but coincidental.
“Everyone knows that if we attack Iran — especially with nuclear weapons — we’ll start a regional conflict that could lead to a global conflagration,” stated Arthur O. Cheeseburger Jr., publisher of Definitely Not The New York Times, in a recent interview. “Nobody can live with that knowledge without cracking up. That’s why it’s purely accidental that the Times added another Style Section and beefed up Travel, Real Estate, and Sports. We also run occasional news stories.”
Michael Gorgon, a reporter for the Times, whose “aluminum tubes for WMD” story in 2002 was cited by Dick Cheney as a reason to go to war, bristled at the idea that reporters are in the Bush Administration’s pocket. He argued that it is a time-honored technique of the objective, independent-minded journalist to provide one-sided information from anonymous “American officials.”
“Take my February 10th story, ‘Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran’,” said Gorgon (who spoke on condition of anonymity). “Lots of people hated it. Said that almost none of my sources were named, that I’m a shill for the government — I’ve never been so hurt. But if the government wants to bomb, it’s inevitable. My job as a responsible journalist is to get the public to believe it’s inevitable, too. And, if I am forced to accept a Pulitzer, so be it.”
Back at the press conference, Helen Thomas remained standing. “Isn’t it true, Mr. President,” she continued, “that your policies have grown so insanely destructive that they can only be implemented through bribery and diversion? You’ve even succeeded in distracting us from the fact that, in order to destroy Iranian Shiite groups, the US now indirectly channels money to Sunni militants who have connections with Al Qaeda –“
Suddenly, a blood-curdling wail rose from the hall. “Please, please,” cried a commentator from Fox News, “won’t somebody think of the baby — that innocent baby of Anna Nicole Smith’s? How can you be so heartless as to talk about millions of foreigners who aren’t even dead yet, when we don’t know the fate of that cute little what’s-her-name?”
Mr. Bush, visibly relieved, announced that he had TIVO, and that anyone who was interested in this vital social issue could come to the Oval Office to watch the latest newsbreaks with him. As the room cleared, anonymous American officials were heard to predict that, during future press conferences, Helen Thomas may be seated even farther back — possibly in a detention center in or near Uzbekistan.
Susie Day lives in New York City where she writes a humor column for feminist and gay publications. She has also written on U.S. political prisoners and labor issues and thinks her girlfriend, Laura Whitehorn, is hot stuff. Can’t get enough of Susie? Read other pieces by Susie Day in MRZine: Susie Day, “Fugitive Offers Reward for Rumsfeld’s Capture” (22 July 2005); “Street Life of a Mad Activist” (28 July 2005); “Waiting for Karl Rove” (9 August 2005); “A Child’s Primer of Intelligent Design” (24 August 2005); “The Flood This Time” (19 September 2005); “Things That Rise Up in the Night: A Howl-oween Treat” (18 October 2005); “President Salutes Anonymous Red-Baiter” (14 November 2005); “Conspicuous Consumption of a Mad Activist” (11 December 2005); “2006: The Year in Horrorscopes” (9 January 2006); “Visiting Herman” (7 February 2006); “Savior Self” (6 March 2006); “Pinko Plague Panics President” (4 April 2006); “Seymour Hersh and the American Brain” (2 May 2006); “Identity, Class, and Bite Me, David Horowitz” (30 May 2006); “Bugging Hillary” (19 June 2006); “Back in the USSA” (24 July 2006); “News from the Back of the Front” (21 August 2006); “Barbie at the Barricades” (20 September 2006); “How to Stay Out of Gitmo” (18 October 2006); “Ted Haggard and the Church of the Down-Low” (13 November 2006); “Police Gun Down Another Rich White Man” (11 December 2006); and “Consuming Karl” (6 February 2007).