RealNews

Trying to Walk the Line Between Fear and Ridicule

Bush administration officials acknowledge that they are still learning how to strike the right balance between encouraging people to take prudent precautions without crying like Chicken Little. And Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, showed this week that they were still struggling to get it right. After setting off considerable anxiety and a run on emergency supplies by formally putting the United States on high alert for a terrorist strike and urging Americans to equip their own home emergency kits, Mr. Ridge pulled way back today without going so far as to say, “Never mind.” Calibrating the public message on domestic security has been especially vexing, senior Bush administration officials and prominent Republicans agreed. If the government did not issue the warnings, some administration officials said, they risked being accused of not sharing information with the public in the event of another attack. Full Story

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