Earth to Atrios
The "backing" by George Bush of Kofi Annan is more of the same insincerity that marked his first term. Without Kofi at the helm, someone else more "socially" acceptable would be the "face" of the UN. This would, of course, make discounting the relevance of the UN much more difficult since much of that criticism is founded on the exploitation of racial ideology. This isn't a change, as you imply, and Norm is not being told by anyone to "shut up". Quite the opposite. This is standard manipulation of the press corps, and now apparently, you too! Say it ain't so! To recap: no one is going to hear "Bush likes Kofi." What matters is what they see. Black and white my friend, black and white.