Check out the website to see the photo which may show Bush wired up for sound.
The Voice in Bush's Ear
This site is a clearinghouse for discussion of whether President Bush uses an earpiece through which he's fed lines and cues by offstage advisers. His speech rhythms suggest this, as do some of his word choices and interjections, and his constantly shifting eye movements while speaking. And there's another form of evidence: Television viewers have sometimes heard another voice speaking Bush's words before he says them. When Bush spoke at D-Day ceremonies in France last June, for example, viewers watching on CNN, Fox and MSNBC, including mediachannel.org's Danny Schechter, were startled to hear another voice speaking Bush's words as if to prompt him. Some said this continued into a q & a. And on the night of 9/11, when Bush appeared on television to address the nation, viewers of one television station in Quincy, Massachusetts heard another voice speaking, slowly and carefully, a few words at a time -- words which were then recited by the president. The voice was nondescript, male, definitely not the president's voice, says Quincy resident Robyn Miller. This went on for at least four sentences, she says, and then the "extra" feed was cut off.
Reporters should have looked into this long ago. But for the past four years through Bush's first debate last week with John Kerry -- and even in the days after the debate -- the press has ignored the evidence of its eyes and ears, and failed to ask whether the president secretly relies on unseen handlers for some public events, including press conferences. If Bush wore a hidden earpiece to cheat in this way during his first debate with John Kerry (however unsuccessfully), it is urgent that the fraud be exposed before the election.
The agreement set by the debate commission barred shots of the candidates from the rear of the stage. The networks refused to comply with the camera angle rules, broadcasting occasional shots of the candidates from behind.
Many viewers thus saw a squarish bulge the size of a large battery pack under the back of Bush's suit jacket, with an S-shaped cord appearing to snake up the right side of his back. Several blogs have carried speculation that it was an audio receiver.
A poster to NYCIndymedia says, "Think 'passive transducer' earpiece." He writes, "The bulges under his jacket are likely receiver/repeaters that pick up the transmitter (and encrypted?) signals from his handlers and transmit them, at very low power, to the earpiece."
"Sure, Bush uses an earpiece sometimes," a top Washington editor for Reuters said to me last spring. "State of the Union -- he had an earpiece for that. Everybody knows it," he said, or assumes it. But everybody doesn't know it, I said. Why hadn't Reuters investigated? The editor shrugged and said it wasn't so different from using a teleprompter.
Except that a teleprompter isn't a secret. And Americans have the right to know if the president can't or won't speak in public without covert assistance.
Television hosts and news anchors wear earpieces, called IFBs (for internal foldback, or feedback) which fit in the ear canal and are almost invisibly small, to receive cues from their producers. (Language scientists say that "shadowing," repeating the words someone else is speaking, is not at all difficult, but it is difficult not to move your eyes when listening.) Television journalists would be likely to spot the use of an IFB or at least to suspect it. So, why haven't they raised the question? I suspect it's untouchable in part because asking the question now points up all the years they let go by without asking it.
But these are the questions that must be asked now, by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and journalists: Does the president use an earpiece in his meetings with the public and with journalists? Did he wear one in last week's debate? How can members of the public who suspect he wore an earpiece be assured that he will not do so in the next debate? What was the object underneath his jacket?