November 23, 2009
It took me a couple go-rounds this weekend to realize the headline "Bowl Championship Series hires ex-Bush administration spokesman to improve public image of BCS" wasn't another magisterial offering from The Onion -- the haphazard hand of reality couldn't possibly align such note-perfect satire on its own accord. But sometimes, I guess, you really can't make this stuff up:
Ari Fleischer Communications, a sports public relations firm headed by the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, has been hired by BCS officials to help remodel the tattered image of college football’s postseason system.
[New BCS executive director Bill] Hancock said in a statement the goal of the hiring was to help highlight the positive aspects of the BCS, which he called the best way to match college football’s top two teams, while preserving the bowl system.
It might seem slightly counterintuitive to hire the spokesman of an administration that ended in a state somewhat below "tattered" to un-tatter an unpopular system that's come under more and more fire each successive year of its existence. Let's not forget, though, what a public relations ninja Fleischer was in his days in the White House -- here, after all, was an ordinary-looking man who frequently bickered with members of the press corps, who once suggested publicly that citizens should "watch what they say, watch what they do," and who said adding additional information to the "mountain of evidence" that Saddam Hussein had accumulated and was planning to use weapons of mass destruction "is like adding a foot to Mount Everest" ... and who basically won. Fleischer was integral in selling the war in Iraq, and he was smart enough to exit the building before it self-destructed soon after.
So if anyone is equipped to deal with a few grandstanding Congressmen, a nascent playoff lobby and even a playoff-stumping president, it's one of the very few guys who got out of the Bush years relatively unscathed. And if Fleischer's firm is partially responsible for keeping Major League Baseball's head above water over the last few years, too, maybe there's some hope for the Series yet. I know I'm starting to like it more already.