But I'm still shocked that they spent $1 million to do a visual makeover of the Palestinian Authority (Atlantic subscription required):
The man responsible for bringing WiFi to the Muqata is Jim Wilkinson, Rice's old press aide, a conservative Christian activist from a small town in East Texas. Once named one of the 50 hottest bachelors in America by People magazine, Wilkinson is now the chief of staff for Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. One of the big problems with the march toward Palestinian democracy, Wilkinson told me, was that the visuals were lousy. "Secretary Rice would show up at the Muqata, and you had broken glass, bars on the windows, people with AK-47s running everywhere."
His solution was to spend a million dollars to remove the scary, chaotic scenes from the evening news, and from the eyesight of the secretary of state. By airbrushing the reality of a corrupt and dysfunctional state, his million-dollar makeover may have done more harm than good. "I brought over Scott Sforsa, who does visuals for the president, who's obviously the best in the world," Wilkinson says proudly. "Abu Mazen always looked disordered on TV," he explains. "That's because once you get over 40 feet on the throw for a camera, the autofocus kicks in in a weird way. We fixed that."
Thank goodness we fixed that autofocus problem. Now the path is clear to peace in the Middle East! Oh wait...