Jay Rosen, who blogs on media matters at Huffington Post, and on his own blog, has an entry on Huffington Post about the missing master narrative of the Bush Administration. That missing master narrative is the effort of the Bush Administration to increase the unchecked power of the presidency. Rosen uses the term "master narrative" to mean the story that drives all other stories. It is a way for the media and its public to make sense of the world around us, a way, if you will, "to connect the dots."
In this case, Rosen says that most political reporters used the master narrative that the Bushies were skilled at politics. The evidence was that Bush had won the 2000 election, although disputed, helped Republicans win the 2002 off-year election, and won re-election in 2004. The theory was that these wins demonstrated the political skill of Bush and Karl Rove.
What such a narrative overlooks, however, is that political campaigns cannot be separated from the political aims of the people conducting the campaigns. It is as if political reporters never asked themselves why exactly did Bush plan to accomplish with his political power. How exactly did he plan to govern? What goals would he try to accomplish with is political power?
Those questions were strangely missing from the media coverage of both the 2000 and the 2004 presidential campaigns. Consequently while Bush would claim a mandate for everything that he tried to do as President, the voters who supposedly gave him this mandate never really was told what he was trying to accomplish as President.
The master narrative suggested by Rosen allows consumers of news to understand what the Bush Administration is trying to accomplish. It explains why he waged a war on the rule of law, why he reacts viscerally to the idea of Congressional oversight, why he feels that it was permissible to start a war using questionable or false evidence, and why he believes that his administration can spy without a warrant on Americans or imprison an American without due process of law. The Bush Presidency is about turning the American presidency into a unchecked instrument for governing.