Spinonymous sources: Time's Allen granted anonymity to White House sources hyping Bush's "recovery plan"April 24, 2006 12:15 PM EDT ››› SIMON MALOY
In an article in the May 1 edition of Time magazine, White House correspondent Mike Allen granted anonymity to Bush administration sources promoting new White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten's five-point "recovery plan," which Allen reported "is aimed at pushing him [President Bush] up slightly in opinion polls and reassuring Republican activists." Allen also allowed an unnamed "Republican frequently consulted by the White House" to attack Democrats over rising diplomatic tensions with Iran. Allen did not indicate why he granted anonymity to sources praising Bush and this new initiative, nor did he provide a Democratic response to the "recovery plan" or to the unsourced attack.
Additionally, Allen identified one source simply as "a proponent of the [recovery] plan" -- completely obscuring from the reader not only the source's name but also any position of authority or experience from which that person may have been speaking.
Allen has previously allowed White House sources to anonymously praise Bush in the pages of Time. As Media Matters for America documented, Allen quoted a White House "aide" in the March 20 edition of Time claiming that Bush "quickly realized" that the conflagration in Congress over the deal that would have allowed Dubai Ports World to assume control of operations at six major U.S. ports was a "fiasco."
From Allen's May 1 Time article:
This is an unabashed play to members of the conservative base who are worried about illegal immigration. Under the banner of homeland security, the White House plans to seek more funding for an extremely visible enforcement crackdown at the Mexican border, including a beefed-up force of agents patrolling on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). "It'll be more guys with guns and badges," said a proponent of the plan. "Think of the visuals. The President can go down and meet with the new recruits. He can go down to the border and meet with a bunch of guys and go ride around on an ATV."
In an effort to curry favor with dispirited Bush backers in the investment world, the Administration will focus on two tax measures already in the legislative pipeline--extensions of the rate cuts for stock dividends and capital gains. "We need all these financial TV shows to be talking about how great the economy is, and that only happens when their guests from Wall Street talk about it," said a presidential adviser. "This is very popular with investors, and a lot of Republicans are investors."
Presidential advisers believe that by putting pressure on Iran, Bush may be able to rehabilitate himself on national security, a core strength that has been compromised by a discouraging outlook in Iraq. "In the face of the Iranian menace, the Democrats will lose," said a Republican frequently consulted by the White House. However, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll this April 8-11, found that 54% of respondents did not trust Bush to "make the right decision about whether we should go to war with Iran."