Fighting the Last War: The Media

February 1, 2006


James Taranto’s piece at on why the media are insistent in pursuing an adversarial role against the President–especially THIS President; especially a REPUBLICAN president. Get the piece here.

“They say that generals always fight the last war, and the same seems to be true of terrorists–and journalists. But the media today do not have the power they had during the Vietnam era–the power to lose a war.
Here’s an example that illustrates both the media’s antiwar attitude and their powerlessness: In October the Baltimore Sun ran a story under the headline, “Little Outcry Raised on Iraq.” The subhead read: “Md. deaths push toll near 2,000, but public is distracted, experts say.”
Consider what this headline tells you about the assumptions that prevail in the newsroom. “Little Outcry Raised on Iraq.” Why is the absence of an outcry a story? News consists of the unexpected–man bites dog, not dog bites man. “Little Outcry Raised on Iraq” means that, in the view of the Baltimore Sun, an outcry is to be expected when the country is at war. If there isn’t much of one, it means something is wrong: “Public is distracted, experts say.” The so-called mainstream media are following the Vietnam script, according to which a war is supposed to become a quagmire, which provokes opposition and leads to American withdrawal.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://