By Christina Lawson
Let’s just say that I understand the need for PR in media-saturated democracies and I know why politicians engage in photo opportunities. In fact, all you need to do is look no further than our most recent presidential administration to figure out why politicians feel the need serve up Thanksgiving dinner for troops in Baghdad.
Quite simply, it’s all for voter support.
But what motivation can foreign governments, namely the British monarchy, have for doing the same thing? And, more importantly, why do news organizations think that Americans should care?
Case in point: the news that first surfaced in early October about Prince William’s first mission as an RAF rescue pilot, which resulted in a rather convenient rescue of an oil worker. If the prince really did rescue this man, fine. That’s a good thing, but it’s also too good to be true. I’m sure there are a number of other new RAF Search and Rescue Force members who have saved people on their first rescue missions and who don’t receive press coverage in return. And why should they? They’re only doing their jobs.
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Moreover, why cover it in the American press? Whether or not the Prince does his job in rescuing a man and then later announces his engagement is immaterial for the United States, and yet, for weeks after it was announced, the engagement continues to be news this side of the Atlantic. If there wasn’t any important, domestic news, then I could understand why the Associated Press would find it necessary to report on William’s first rescue mission. But, as it is, we’re still in a recession, Washington is adjusting to the change in party dynamics that the midterms have brought, and now Vladimir Putin is intimating that the US needs to either ratify the new START treaty, or prepare for a new nuclear arms race. There is plenty of domestic news. If the press wants to cover something different, then it should worry about reporting on the goings-on of our military personnel, not England’s.
So exactly what is the House of Windsor expecting to gain from this type of coverage? Is William making an attempt to channel his mother, who used her celebrity to help others? Or, is England, after more than two-hundred years, still trying to assert her dominance over a former colonial property by creating a monarchy-obsessed American society through media infiltration? While it is entirely feasible that the family is acknowledging the former Princess of Wales’ success at philanthropy and seeking to “create” a new Diana for the 21st century, maybe the coverage the Royal Family has received in the last 25 years is part of a scheme to maintain some control over a country which was first claimed for England before it became independent, in which case, the royalty-saturated American press isn’t so much to blame for its coverage of the monarchy as the monarchy itself.