Sunday, September 11, 2011

Editorial: Our Media Dunces

It shouldn't have to be so hard for the press to cover things accurately.

But last week demonstrated (a) they don't read and (b) they can be collective morons.

No where was that more obvious than on Friday's Diane Rehm Show, second hour, where Diane and her guests demonstrated that they're experts on nothing but love the sound of their own voices.

Last Tuesday, Fox News reported, "The Obama administration has decided to drop the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of the year down to 3,000, marking a major downgrade in force strength, multiple sources familiar with the inner workings and decisions on U.S. troop movements in Iraq told Fox News." Their report stated that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was endorsing the option and their report quoted Panetta denying that any decision had been made.

Leon Panetta

At that day's White House press briefing, CBS News' Norah O'Donnell led the questioning on the report. Jay Carney, White House flack, insisted that no decision had yet been made and that negotiations continue "with the Iraqi government about what our relationship will look like going forward." O'Donnell continued to press on whether "Secretary Panetta delivered a recommendation to the President" and Carney insisted that had not happened.

Something was delivered.

And the press knew it. But, sadly, that's all they knew.

The New York Times, Thomas E. Ricks and many others pounced on that 3,000 option the next day. And the press would continue to do so. Demonstrating just how stupid some members of the press are. And where there is stupid, there is The Diane Rehm Show. From their Friday transcript:

REHM 11:32:54 Elise Labott. She's senior State Department producer for CNN and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Tell me about this brand new plan to keep 3 to 4,000 troops in Iraq, David, after the deadline for final withdrawal which is December 31. That kind of came as...

IGNATIUS 11:33:26 I think...

REHM 11:33:26 ...something of a surprise to people.

IGNATIUS 11:33:29 ...I think it's less new than it seemed from the way that it's been disclosed this week. For a long time the U.S. has been saying -- really urging the Iraqis to think about some small residual presence of U.S. forces that would help with training. The Iraqis have said they'd like to buy F16s I think it is for air defense, so you'd need American personnel there to do that. It's a small number of troops. The feeling I think on the U.S. side is that it would have a steadying affect in an Iraq that's awfully nervous. In terms of U.S. exposure it's fairly limited.

LABOTT 11:34:10 This isn't an administration that has as a top priority getting U.S. combat forces out of Iraq and that's happened. So I wouldn't -- I think a small residual training force and a big combat force are not the same thing.

And on and on they babbled. Indicating that if everyone was talking about something, they could talk about it too, they just couldn't do so in an informed manner.

One outlet after another insisted that the 3,000 was "the option." It was "an option." One of many. And the press should have known that on Tuesday when the Panetta and 3,000 troops story broke. From that day's Iraq snapshot:

On the issue Fox News reported on and that Norah O'Donnel asked about, Lolita C. Baldor, Rebecca Santana, Lara Jakes and Robert Burns (AP) report that the White House "is reviewing a number of options" but that a request needs to be made before Barack can decide which option to go with.

"A number of options." Reported on Tuesday.

Thursday more news of US troops in Iraq post-2011 came out. Justin Fishel (Fox News) reported that Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, declared that one of the issues to be resolved in the negotiations would be where US troops would be staged after 2011 and "Odierno said it's most likely that any major U.S. base would be located outside of Baghdad." And building on that, Robert Burns and Rebecca Santana (AP) reported on the option of moving US troops to Kuwait. They cite anonymous "US officials" who state that Kuwait is being considered as a staging area for the US military and that it could also be used to keep "a small U.S. combat force" that could enter Iraq swiftly should a problem arise. And they note that US military equipment could be left in Kuwait instead of sent back to America.

And all week long, the gas bags like Ricks and Rehm seemed never to have read the AP wires, to be completely oblivious and to zoom in on one option and treat it as if it is "the plan."

Equally outrageous was the whoring. Elise Labott was rightly called out by Rebecca. Labott, you may believe the Iraq War needs to continue but maybe that's an opinion you need to keep to yourself since you're not a columnist but supposedly an objective journalist. Barbara Lee called it 'a step in the right direction.' We're not remembering her saying that back when Bush occupied the White House. But these days Barbara Lee's all about scraping and bowing to the White House. She's completely abdicated her previous positions to run defense for Barack.

3,000 in Iraq beyond 2011 is outrageous.

For those who have forgotten, Barack declared in 2007 that he had a plan to bring the troops home in a year. A lot of people have forgotten that. 2008 rolled around and Senator Obama didn't bring the troops home. But he inisted on the campaign trail that "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!" and that US troops would leave Iraq. And then the Bush White House began working on the Status Of Forces Agreement. Barack called it out because Hillary and other Democrats called it out. It would need Senate consent or it would not fly legally, he repeatedly insisted in person and on his campaign site. Then the Bush White House rammed it through the Iraqi Parliament on Thanksgiving Day 2008, weeks after Barack had won the presidential election. Suddenly, the Barack Obama and Joe Biden opposition to the SOFA vanished.

And whores like Tom Hayden and Raed Jarrar encouraged us to sing Barack's praises because he was 'ending' the Iraq War (that would have been Bush ending the Iraq War) because the SOFA, they wrongly insisted, meant all US troops leave Iraq at the end of 2011.

There were other things to focus on, they insisted and went out whoring ObamaCare while stabbing universal health care in the back. There were other things to focus on, they insisted while Iraqis continued dying, while US troops continued to die and be deployed to Iraq.

The cry of "OUT OF IRAQ NOW!" became, "We're leaving in three years, it's no big deal."

But the whores got the SOFA wrong.

It's now 2011. December 31st is approaching. Instead of all US troops leaving Iraq? August 2nd, Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and thug of the occupation, announced that Iraq and the US were negotiating to keep US troops in Iraq beyond 2011.

The only thing the world needed to hear from Tom Hayden this week was, "I am a damn dirty whore who pretended to care about ending the Iraq War because it got my name in papers and got me booked on programs and even got me a book contract. But I'm a damn dirty whore and I was so wrong when I told everyone the SOFA meant the Iraq War ended in 2011. Because of my whoring, thousands of Iraqis have continued dying. Their blood is on my hands. And though I'm too chicken s**t to do what I should do, commit hari-kari, I will at least take a vow of silence so that I am no longer responsible for the deaths of any more Iraqis."

Instead the cheap whore showed up to declare that 3,000 troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (like other idiots, he wasn't aware that this was only one option among many) was a "victory" for the peace movement. He's such a whore. Such a damn dirty whore. (C.I.'s takedown of Hayden's latest babbles is here.)

Repeatedly, pollsters like to demonstrate what Americans don't know or what they think they know when they're actually wrong and Jay Leno's got a recurring skit ("Jaywalking") built around what we don't know. But maybe one of the reasons people get things wrong -- besides the fact that we will all get things wrong at some point -- is because those entrusted to give us the facts often fail?

Certainly one outlet after another failed last week as they parroted Fox News' scoop (often without giving Fox News credit for it) while ignoring AP's repeated reports about how 3,000 was only one option under consideration. Maybe in the next "Jaywalking," Jay can serve up Diane Rehm, Thomas E. Ricks, Tom Hayden, Elise Labott and a host of others?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }