Writing about the staged soldier teleconference with the President last week, Stryker (“digitalwarfighter”) argues “Of course it was staged “:
The press has played along with these charades for just as long without ever showing the general public the Man Behind the Curtain, so I’m trying to figure out what the big deal is supposed to be. […]
It’s a fairly symbiotic relationship whose inner-workings are rarely revealed to the general public, but those who’ve had the opportunity to take a peak behind the curtain get to see just how cozy the relationship between the allegedly free press and our government really is, which is why the shock expressed by the press with this latest bit of PR seems a bit feigned.
And of course he’s right, as far as the press goes. But while it may not be news to bloggers or daily news readers — let alone the press corps — that the Bush administration stages its little events with the president, the illusion of “spontaneity” and “reality” is clearly important to the stagers. Otherwise why would Allison Barber  (the PR flack from the Pentagon who coached the soldiers) and Scott McClellan  deny the event was staged?
In one sense, yes, it’s old news; White House creates fake  photo op  or an illusory meeting with carefully selected  voters. Even the president calls it “catapulting the propaganda .” What’s different this time isn’t just the feigned press shock, but the response it got from the fakers. The illusion of reality really matters to the White House — more than the reality of reality does, and even when the illusion is proven for all to see.