White House Extremely Worried About People Saying Dumb Stuff on 9/11

Look: The Obama administration doesn't want to screw up the 10th anniversary of 9/11, okay? There's going to be quite a bit of focus around the world on the United States and its allies that day, and no one wants important government people going out and screwing something up or saying something stupid. So let's pre-forgive the administration for its nitpicky "9/11 instructions" (more like "guidelines") being sent out to bureaucrats both here and around the world.

The messaging instructions come in two sets: one for domestics, another for the foreigns. The New York Times reports:

The White House in recent days has quietly disseminated two sets of documents. One is framed for overseas allies and their citizens and was sent to American embassies and consulates around the globe. The other includes themes for Americans here and underscores the importance of national service and what the government has done to prevent another major attack in the United States. That single-page document was issued to all federal agencies, officials said. [...]

The guidelines list what themes to underscore - and, just as important, what tone to set. Officials are instructed to memorialize those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and thank those in the military, law enforcement, intelligence or homeland security for their contributions since.

And then there's this juicy-to-a-certain-audience bit, about putting emphasis on the wider picture: "The important theme is to show the world how much we realize that 9/11 - the attacks themselves and violent extremism writ large - is not ‘just about us,'" in the words of one "official" involved in the planning. Usually crafting a theme about how ___ United States policy is of importance to the world at large in order to get other nations' support isn't very controversial. But visit any neighborhood wingnut blog today and you'll see, say, a headline about the Obama administration saying the 9/11 anniversary isn't about "us," along with a picture of a fireball at the World Trade Center. This'll get worse before it gets better.

[Image via AP]