I'm way behind on this story in blogtime but I feel like someone ought to stand up for Nagourney the Noble when someone beats his time. Since I've been on the Nagourney beat for quite some time, I stepped up to defend his worried honor. Chris Bowers found this story in the pro-War WaPo on Tuesday:
Democrats Struggle To Seize Opportunity
Amid GOP Troubles, No Unified Message
By Shailagh Murray and Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 7, 2006; Page A01
News about GOP political corruption, inept hurricane response and chaos in Iraq has lifted Democrats' hopes of winning control of Congress this fall. But seizing the opportunity has not been easy, as they found when they tried to unveil an agenda of their own.
But the Noble Nagourney, who owns this beat, baby, don't ever doubt it, was 24 hours ahead of pikers Murray and Babington with one of his trademark Democrats are Worried pieces:
These scattershot messages reflect what officials in both parties say are vulnerabilities among Republicans on Capitol Hill, as well as President Bush's weakened political condition in this election year.
But they also reflect splits within the party about what it means to be a Democrat — and what a winning Democratic formula will be — after years in which conservative ideas have dominated the national policy debate and helped win elections.
And they complicate the basic strategy being pursued by Democratic leaders in Washington to capture control of Congress: to turn this election into a national referendum on the party in power, much the way Republicans did against Democrats in 1994.
Bowers answers both stories, since they are identical, by asking the pro-war WaPo reporters a question:
I have a question for Murray and Babbington: how large does our lead in the polls have to be before we are "seizing the opportunity?" 20 points? 40?
The answer is a diabolical nevah! This particular narrative is set in stone by the powers that be and don't kid yourself, there are powers that be. The subtheme, sing it with me, is "sure the GOP is tanking in the polls but have the Dems been able to show anything for it or are they in the exact same position?" Scattered, mired in low poll numbers, fighting among themselves, rudderless ... weak. Everything old is new again.
And, while we're talking about the powers that be and narratives set in stone, this week seems to the one for rolling out new product - or products. So far we've been hit with a coordinated effort to both amp up the dolchstosslegende and the nit-witted saber-rattling aimed at Iran.
Both new WH products are terrifying. The latter because it does more to hurt the country than anything else as it puts our enemies in the position of pounding their chests and asking, "Oh yeah, Boyee? Now what?" We, of course, got nothing.
The former is terrifying because there are,in fact, quite a few bullets in that particular gun. And it's pointed directly at the First Amendment as well as everyone who practices any aspect of it. In short, that gun is pointed at America. I'm not going to take time analysing this since so many bloggers have already done a good job with it. I am, in the style of Paperwight, hoping to keep current a list of examples of Team BushCo's War on the Press - as in "Freedom of." This is very different from the comparitively ham-fisted and benign War on Media, which has mostly tried to discredit the media by mocking it, badgering it and recreating it as something that Goebbels would smile upon.
This War on the Press is much more serious as it uses strong themes of the dolchstosslegende I mentioned above. That's dangerous, serious business and it's the very best sign of how desperate the situation is in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Let the listing begin!
First we get the marching orders from Ol' Man Rummy. What follows are his opening remarks to his presser on March 7. I included the whole bit because it's important to see how they twist American history to justify the very unAmerican business they are currently about. It's nothing necessarily new, but that doesn't make it any less despicable: (emph mine)
Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Harry S. Truman Presidential
Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. The purpose was to pay
tribute to the first U.S. president of the Cold War era and to consider what
lessons might be drawn from that important period in our history.
The era we find ourselves in today is -- has a great many differences from the
Cold War, to be sure, but these two eras also have some instructive
similarities. Both were and are fundamentally ideological
conflicts. In both, success required bolstering the capabilities of
partner nations. And above all, both required perseverance by the
American people and by their leadership.
So, too, today the key to success will be perseverance. In Iraq, the
terrorists are obviously trying to ignite a civil war to divide that country
and to demoralize the coalition that's helping them along the path towards
self-government. The desire to foment civil strife was behind last
month's bombing of the golden dome shrine. It has been and remains a time
of testing for the Iraqi people, but the Iraqis are meeting that test thus far
successfully, I would say, and defying the seeming rush to -- by some here and
abroad -- to proclaim exactly what the terrorists seek, namely a civil
It's instructive to take note of several things that have happened in Iraq
since the bombing of the shrine that must be disappointing to those who seek a
First, the Iraqi security forces have taken the lead in controlling the
situation. Coalition forces assisted in a supporting role, according to
And second, the Iraqi government leaders took a number of key steps that have
had a calming effect in the situation. They imposed a curfew, and the
leaders of most of the major parties have stepped forward to publicly urge
restraint on all parties.
From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has
exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on
mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi
deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had
been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say
nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military
conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq.
Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as
though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of
issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a
nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to
discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.
And then I notice today that there's been a public opinion poll reporting that
the readers of these exaggerations believe Iraq is in a civil war -- a majority
do, which I suppose is little wonder that the reports we've seen have had that
effect on the American people.
General Casey has reported that overall levels of violence have not increased
substantially as a result of the Golden Dome bombing. To be sure, violence
continues to slow Iraq's progress. That's a fact, and we know that.
In the coming months Iraqis will face difficult obstacles in controlling
illegal militias, and we know that. They're working to try to strengthen their
ministries, and we're trying to help them. And their efforts to fashion a
unity government that will represent all elements of their society is clearly
being delayed by the situation in Iraq. Nonetheless, the leadership being
shown by the Iraqi security forces, by the Iraqi government officials in the
wake of these attacks against the shrine has to be seen as encouraging, despite
the apparent unwillingness of some to accept it.
Nearly 56 years ago, in 1950, the Truman administration issued what would
become a framework for America's Cold War strategy for four decades. In a
formerly classified document called NSC 68, the Truman administration said,
quote, "Our fundamental purpose is more likely to be defeated from lack of
will to maintain it than from any mistakes we may make or assault we may
undergo because of asserting that will," unquote. Today our nation
is again in a long struggle. And again, the toughest challenge will be to
maintain our national will to persevere and to prevail.
There's more in the rest of the presser but that opening is the manifesto by which everything we are going to see coming at us from the Right Wing Noise Machine and, eventually, the corporate media, will be informed: journalists are losing this war, aiding and comforting the enemy and betraying America.
And so we see:
How to get the "good news"
Howard Kurtz blowing smoke up our dresses:
I don't think it's a question of being intimidated. I do think that any reporter who relies on anonymous sources now has to think twice and three times about whether he or she is willing to go to jail if necessary to protect the sources, and as a result whether the story at hand is worth doing. Also, some sources themselves may be growing more cautious because of this highly charged environment.
But it's not about being intimidated.
Bill Keller wondering who will help him now. From Julia:
It's enough to make you wonder if keeping the NSA story under wraps until after the presidential election was the best possible news judgment.
But then, it wasn't news judgment at all, was it.
Gleeful relish indeed. Our major news outlets haven't seen anything in seven years of Karl Rove orchestrating our national discourse that made them nervous enough to withdraw their active support or even report objectively on the opposition.
Well, now they've come for you. Listen to the crickets.
(the pro-war WaPo has the story here)
Ol' Man Rummy tying al Qaida to the corporate media.
We get Instahack setting up the dolchstosslegende like a pro. From Sadly No!:
Why do the media focus so much on the negative news coming out of Iraq? Because they want America to fail! Why do they want America to fail? Because, as Insty himself tells us, they're basically on the side of the enemy. Why has every reporter in the American media betrayed their country, you ask? Who knows! And it doesn't matter, because every single person in the dread MSM exhibits these traitorous tendencies, from the objectively pro-Saddamites at the New York Times to the commie pinkos who write for the Economist
From the Poorman, (who links to Glen Greewald on the topic):
Sore-jaw’ed media types who are wondering “what do I have to do to please these people?”: you have to die for their sins, darlings. You have to be driven off into the wilderness with their sins on your head. Because nothing is real. Something to keep in mind as you strive for “balance.”
Armando weighs in on Instahack's warnings and wafflings.
BushCo claims that the LAT is responsible for the deaths and woundings of American soldiers.