Saturday, December 5, 2009

Anatomy of a Myth

If I were to bet you a million dollars, could you tell me which President famously asked Americans to fight terrorism by “going shopping”? (Please email me immediately if you want to take this bet and don’t read on!)

Of course I’d win this bet because no American President including George W Bush ever said those words and the reason you think he did is because of Time Magazine.

Here is the line from the Time Magazine article from September 21, 2001 analyzing Bush’s speech from a few days earlier:

And for God's sake keep shopping — "I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy" — and keep praying:

Time Magazine said “keep shopping” not George W Bush. Notice where the quotes are.
Here's the whole enchilada:,8599,175757,00.html

Bush did once utter the words "I encourage you all to shop even more!" But this was in 2006 while he was ribbing reporters during the Christmas shopping season and the context was the economy and the early Christmas retail numbers!

I bring this all up because I hear this lie repeated constantly and it stuck in my craw when I heard it this week from a big Democrat in the context of how great Obama was compared to Bush “who just asked Americans to go shopping!”

But this is nothing new. Much of what we know, just ain’t so when it comes from indirect and filtered sources. So much of what we're fed by the pop-media is little more than agenda driven propaganda.  Constant repetition keeps the “myth train” rolling on and on and on. I’d have much more faith in our Democracy if fewer people were sucked-in by these tactics.

One other thing I’d add to this subject is a speech Bush made to airline employees also in September 2001 where he asked Americans to continue flying for business and tourism and to "go to Disney World", etc. Remember that between the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks, the whole economy including retail and tourism came to an abrupt standstill. There were even widespread reports of anthrax being introduced into mall air systems! What President would not use the bully pulpit to ask Americans for “continued participation and confidence in the American economy”? Think about it…
UPDATE:  Oh, and you owe me a million dollars.

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