Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Bush's Credibility Has Jumped the Shark

Judging by AP reporter Calvin Woodward's report on Bush's big speech today on how we're going to achieve victory in Iraq, nobody's buying what Bush is selling anymore. It begins

President Bush's depiction of Iraqi security forces as "helping to turn the tide" is difficult to square with persistent setbacks in handing control of the country back to its own people. His suggestion that Americans are solidly behind the mission also understates opposition at home, and his hard sell on the rising quality of Iraqi forces overlooks complexities on the ground.
And it ends
As he did before the invasion, Bush tied Iraq to terrorism, to make the case that a stable Iraq would make for a safer America. He declared, "The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. And so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror." Iraq was not, however, the terrorists' chosen battlefield until Saddam was defeated and extremists poured across unsecured borders.
That's not just skepticism. That's somewhere between derision and contempt.
You know, I don't think that was either derision or contempt. It was journalism.

Political figures say false or misleading things and for years and years, journalists have served as their stenographers. When a politician chooses to lie about issues have been clearly decided, but the public is not yet aware of the status, contradicting the politician is simply reporting news.

Woodward could have done it more deftly, citing poll numbers showing that support for the war has badly eroded or mentioned the fact that the "rising quality" of Iraqi troops seems to refer to the use of death squads, battle tactics banned by Geneva, and so on. Instead, he stated bluntly what military leaders have stated in off-the-record conversations with people like John Murtha.

And, as we know, truth is the absolute defense.
You are right. It was real journalism. It's just that whenever somebody actually does give us "just the facts, ma'am" about Bush, it's obvious that he's contemptible. As Harry Truman said, "I just tell the truth, and they think it's hell."
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