The Contemporary Presidency: Communications Operations in the White House of President George W. Bush: Making News on His Terms



White House operations reflect the president whom the staff serve. His strengths are theirs and his weaknesses are mirrored in the organization. To understand the communications operation in the George W. Bush administration, one has to begin with the president's management approach because his style is reflected throughout all White House operations. In the system the president and senior advisers set in place, there are several core elements: a presidential management system with three central features–set the goals, establish how to get from point A to point B, and assign specific tasks and responsibilities to staff members; a compartmentalized White Home operation where each communications unit and staff member has specific responsibilities; a three-tier communications operation focused on strategy, operations, and implementation; four and later two additional units carrying out tasks associated with publicity operations; White House control over the appointment of departmental public affairs officers; and regular coordination with those officers.