The Pres and the Press
The President's past drug use (like the past drug use of everyone else lucky enough to avoid arrest) is no big deal, although his hypocrisy on the subject is hard to stomach. Of greater interest -- at least to the Washington Post -- is the decision by most of the domestic mainstream media to downplay the story while the foreign press finds it noteworthy.
The divergent coverage of Bush's apparent drug use is a textbook study in the difference between the international online media and their American counterparts. On the issue of youthful illicit drug use, most U.S. news editors -- liberal, conservative or other -- defer to Bush in a way that their foreign counterparts do not.
Also interesting is the disparate domestic coverage of President Clinton (who never inhaled) versus President Bush (who never admits he inhaled). Can the difference be attributed to the success that conservatives have had in their efforts to perpetuate the myth of a "liberal media bias," and the media's fear that full coverage of the story would prompt more right-wing attacks?
If the big-name newspapers had played up the drug angle it's reasonable to assume that Republicans and conservatives on talk radio would renew such accusations. They might say liberal editors were dredging up an old story from a disloyal friend to thwart the agenda of a popular conservative president. Foreign editors (and local TV) have no such worries. They have a simpler view: George Bush using illegal drugs is worth a headline.
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