As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Just Please Don’t Call it Wall Street Reform

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today aboard Air Force One that President Obama is completely tickled that Financial reform legislation is moving toward final passage in the Senate. Obama will probably make a statement when he returns to the White House later today from an event in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is looking at signing the legislation the middle of next week.

Be happy. Be sad. Send flowers to your grieving banker. But just don’t call the bill Wall Street Reform.

The clever folks at the White House a few months ago took what had been known forever as “financial reform” and rebranded it as “Wall Street Reform.” First of all, the name is a misnomer, since the bill goes way beyond Wall Street, deep into other parts of the FINANCIAL sector. THAT’S WHY IT WAS CALLED FINANCIAL REFORM.

Barack Obama east room
Starting now, the education bill will be called the "Give Poor, Defenseless Orphans Some Milk and a Cookie Act."

Now, the White House has tried to change the name because, you know, who doesn’t want to reform Wall Street these days? That’s a bill everyone can get behind. It’s like rooting for “Fascism Reform” or “Wicked Stepmother Reform” or “Halitosis Reform.” It’s real hard to be against it.

The Obama people similarly worked to change “Health Reform” to “Health Insurance Reform,” and then of course bashed away at the health insurance industry until an already unpopular group of people began to look like a cabal of  Satan worshipers.

This is not an uncommon little subterfuge in Washington – it was invented long before Obama – and I give the White House full credit for good PR.

The problem is when the PRESS adopts such manipulative usage. Here are a few recent headlines:

Senate Clears Last Hurdle on Wall Street Reform || CNN
Senate on the Brink of One Final Vote on Wall Street Reform || AOL News
Harry Reid sets vote on Wall Street reform || POLITICO

Yes, yes, the bill is actually called the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Of course, this is just more clever branding. If reporters want to use the whole name of the Act, fine. But let’s don’t paraphrase it in a way that suits the White House communications ship and Barney Frank’s flack.

Update: This just added to the president’s schedule.

4:45PM THE PRESIDENT delivers a statement to the press about financial regulatory reform

Did they say “financial regulatory reform?” Who in the press office needs a spin refresher?

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