"Throughout his career as a bodybuilder and action-movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger has shaped his public persona much as he once sought to sculpt his champion muscles - with a domineering determination," write Dion Nissenbaum and Eric Nalder. His obsession with controlling his image goes even beyond the practices of other Hollywood celebrities. "Arnold's entire career has been manufactured," said Arthur Seidelman, who directed Schwarzenegger in his first action film. "He is very much in control of his image and has shaped that image every step of the way.
The White House official who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame did more than attack a political enemy, writes Shaun Waterman. Plame worked for the CIA "on the very issue the Bush administration says was at the heart of its decision to go to war with Iraq: weapons of mass destruction. ... Plame's outing, whomever did it, has damaged the very effort the White House said it was pursuing in going to war in the first place. A very important line has been crossed here. The integrity of the policy goals - non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - is now seen by at least some in the White House as less important than the integrity of the message - we didn't exaggerate the case against Iraq. ... The message seems to have trumped everything, even the need to get it right in the war on terror." And as Walter Shapiro notes in USA Today, the Plame flap is only one of several scandalous recent developments related to the war in Iraq. "In the past week, three major Iraq-related developments should have, in theory, caused lasting embarrassment to the Bush administration," Shapiro writes. "But because none of these flaps touched on illegality, they have been treated as one-day stories."
A specter is haunting American politics: the specter of Richard Nixon, whose career as a politician created the image-drenched, spin-ridden political culture that now dominates elections and daily governance.
"After years as political agnostics, the programmers and engineers who orchestrated the technological revolution of the 1990s are trying to reboot government," writes Joseph Menn. "They have money, earned during the boom. They have time, found since the bust. And they are using their technological savvy to recruit even casual Internet users to their causes." Menn looks at the new "techno-populists" such as MoveOn.org and DigitalConsumer.org.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has condemned a radio scare campaign sponsored by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. "In a bid to defeat legislation that would allow the 'reimportation' of American-made drugs from Canada and Europe, a lobby group calling itself the Seniors Coalition is questioning the safety of Canadian and European prescription drugs," the Toronto Star reports. Reimported drugs are cheaper for seniors to buy. The legislation is part of the $400 billion, 10-year overhaul of the Medicare.
Thirty-one corporate criminals gave more than $9 million to the Democratic and Republican parties during the 2002 election cycle, according to a report by Corporate Crime Reporter. They gave $7.2 million to Republicans (77 percent) and $2.1 million to Democrats (23 percent). The top five corporations, ranked by amount given to politicians, were Archer Daniels Midland ($1.7 million), Pfizer ($1.1 million), Chevron ($875,400), Northrop Grumman ($741,250), and American Airlines ($655,593).
"While the administration of President George W. Bush is aggressively positioning itself as the world leader in the war on terrorism, some families of the Sept. 11 victims say that the facts increasingly contradict that script," reports Eric Boehlert. "The White House long opposed the formation of a blue-ribbon Sept. 11 commission, some say, and even now that panel is underfunded and struggling to build momentum.
John Stossel has been promoted to co-anchor of ABC's 20/20 TV program. According to a source within the network, "These are conservative times... the network wants somebody to match the times." Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) points to Stossel's history of "bungled facts and twisted logic" and asks if "a record of credible and accurate reporting" shouldn't be more important than "matching the perceived political climate."
Election campaign records following the past legislative session in Florida show that sugar and telephone companies both gave the most and got the most in return. Loosened pollution restrictions in the Everglades and an impending increase in telephone service rates, the largest in history, appear to be the payoff for more then $3.5 million the industries gave to state-level candidates and committees.
President Bush's advisers, led by Karl Rove, are "planning a sprint of a campaign that would start, at least officially, with his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, a speech now set for Sept. 2 . ... Mr. Bush's advisers said they chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations of the third anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. ... The strategy ... is intended to highlight what Mr.