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February 22, 2006
JIM GERAGHTY writes that blogs have blown it on the ports story. Though the misconceptions seem to come from Big Media reporting, and the error correction mostly from bloggers and reader email.
At any rate, this is a perfect storm of bungled PR by the White House (which has forfeited much trust because of its excessive friendliness to the Saudis and limp response to the Cartoon Jihad, as well as general perceived laxity on homeland security and immigration), coupled with generalized anxiety about how things are going on the terrorism front. The White House should have had the facts out quickly, and should be on top of things now. It's not too late, but there's already considerable Congressional upset. You can respond to that sort of concern with facts, but not with a mixture of "trust us" and charges of bigotry which has been the White House's main tactic so far.
At any rate, we just did our podcast interview with Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan. It'll be up in a couple of hours, but they think that the concern over this transaction is misplaced, and suggest why the Administration's PR effort hasn't been as good as it might.