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Home > War On Terror

ILTEOTS # 232: Katy Hanks as Lisa Simpson

And remember Katy, don't call him 'Uncle'.

29 August 2003

In Friday's episode of the Simpsons, Lisa was primed with a question to ask Montgomery Burns on his campaign trail:

Advisor: Little girl, do you think you can memorize this by dinnertime tomorrow?

Lisa (reading): Mr. Burns: your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?

Advisor: Very good.

Lisa: Mmm. Well, as long as I'm asking something, can I ask him to assuage my fears that he's contaminating the planet in a manner that may one day render it uninhabitable?

Advisor: No, dear. The card question'll be fine.

Well, Donald H. Rumsfeld had a question from a nine-year old this week, Katy Hanks of Ogdensburg, NY. It was: "Can you please describe the most unreported eventful progress in Iraq?"

"That's the hardest question you've gotten all day, Mr. Secretary," commented Gen. John Abizaid. You might wonder why this mini-Woodward-and-Bernstein-rolled-into-one was allowed to interrogate the Secretary of Defense in this way. And, poking around for more on Katy, so did Kynn Bartlett of Shock & Awe. Or, he did until a Department of Defense press release made it clearer:

Young visitor-turned-reporter Katie Hanks attended the DoD press briefing Aug. 21. Her memorable moment came when she met Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who gave her an exclusive interview. Hanks was visiting her aunt, Air Force Maj. Anne Skelly, a speechwriter for Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

That's Paul Wolfowitz, überhawk and Rumsfeld's second-in-command.

"Katie later admitted her aunt had helped her with the question but that it was a thrill to meet the secretary." Okay, so a propagandist for the Defense Department created a photo-opportunity for the occupiers to crow, and arranged for her niece to be her shill for this. Classy.

"I never get this much attention," she told reporters after Rumsfeld left. Perhaps her family should spend more time with her and less time gulling the public into support for a still-legally-dubious invasion? Beloved aunt.

Katy's experience can teach everyone a lesson: saying something with a question mark to the powerful is not journalism. At least Katy's too young to know better.

The moment - in all its sickly glory:


The answer, by the by, was that "There are television dishes literally everywhere in Baghdad that Saddam Hussein wouldn't let be in there."

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