Never admitting mistakes
I find it astonishing that after the press spent most of the 90s pushing right wing lies about both Clintons and then did their best to trash Al Gore that they would have felt they needed to do even more damage to our democracy by cheerleading Bush’s insane wars. I remember how the media ignored the large anti-war protests that happened in the run up to both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I also remember that the bosses at NBC insisted that their top-rated host on MSNBC, Phil Donahue, have two guests who were pro-war for every one guest who opposed it — and Donahue was counted as one of the anti-war people which prevented him from even doing a one-on-one debate with a war promoter. That didn’t last too long, however, because NBC then fired Donahue.
The inevitability of this week's outcome is what the press needs to come to grips with. It's my marker for who among them is telling the unvarnished truth.
Bush took money appropriated specifically for Afghanistan and shifted it to Iraq. Congress just sat there with a collective, "oh well, what are ya gonna do?" The media did the same, even though misappropriation of funds is illegal generally and unconstitutional specifically. The media and Congress were waving the flag and allowing creeps like Cheney and Rumsfeld to run wild.
What is truly amazing to me is how quickly infectious disease experts in the major media can suddenly shift hats to become military strategy experts! How multi-talented! This was a trap set by Fascist 45 to blow up in Biden's face, which is why his supporters in the American Fascist Party, the American Taliban and Putin's Russia are applauding this clusterfuck. Day by day, I am losing hope in the future of this sad, deluded country.
I was watching the 11th Hour with Brian Williams last night and I was so disgusted by Peter Baker. Literally putting all this on Biden and how it is going to look with him at Camp David, etc...then Andrea Mitchell almost to tears because of the women and children not being able to get out. Like Andrea don't you think Biden and Co. are going to try to save as many lives as they can? Jeez. Then Peter barely mentions that Trump invited the Taliban to shoot the s*it with him. But it's all Biden's fault. GTFOH. Thanks Eric!! Appreciate your work.
Our Failed Political Press ™ is covering for themselves: any NYTimes article that does not mention Judith Miller and their own culpability is proof.
20 years later (40 Friedman Units?) the political press is still failing us.
The press is practically salivating over this exodus from Afghanistan, giving no background history nor explanations for the ways we got into it, as Eric so well elucidates. This was an American war we entered into based on lies - I was fooled into half believing Colin Powell at the UN -, not Biden’s war. So easy for those of us who never served to be armchair fabulists, opining over Biden’s ‘f...up,’ brows furrowed, voices pleading for who knows what? Ad nauseaum on a loop vivid play by play, moment by moment (thinking Richard Engel who I normally admire) descriptions of the horrors Afghanis are facing as they try to leave their country. ‘BIDEN’s Saigon’ trips so nicely off the tongue. Had to turn off am Joe, disgusted by their high handed grousing over a war that began when Bush went into Iraq, preemptively for Pete’s sake. I’m beside myself with frustration/anger at the distorted focus with which the press views this awful event. Thanks again, Eric, for the clarity, intelligence, passion and laser like focus you continue to bring to these failures of the press to give us the whole picture and not just R talking points per usual.
It's becoming more clear that Trump and his administration set a time bomb for Biden. Of course the mainstream media will not report the meetings between Trump and the Taliban and how that helped to setup this disaster. The Republicans continue to cheer the actions of the Taliban and everyone else over Democrats. And of course the media arm of the Reps, the mainstream DC press is right there willing to blame Biden. A large portion of this country agrees with Biden. In fact according to Nicole Wallace from MSNBC yesterday afternoon, 95 percent of the people will agree with Biden but 95 percent of the press will not. Predictably Wallace did not bother to elaborate on that last part. The failure of the press accurately reporting this complete clusterfuck that began 20 years ago is as much the problem as Bush and those that voted to start this fiasco.
As Nicolle Wallace mentioned yesterday on her show, 95% of Americans agree with this move - the only demographic freaking out is the press. I’m not watching this forlorn war porn. It’s sick. Fortunately, the media are predictable: they will tire of this story as soon as another anti-mask fracas breaks out. Americans are predictable, too. No one is losing sleep over Afghanistan.
I was somewhat taken aback when NBC nightly news trotted out former general Petraeus to hold forth on the collapse in Afghanistan. Does no one in the press remember why his career ended, and what we found out about his leadership? And then Lester Holt finished up the broadcast with a look at his fond memories of the country from earlier visits.
There are times when I really want to join the right wing in attacking the press.
Nicolle Wallace of all people had an interesting take on Biden's speech:
""95% of the American people will agree with everything he just said. 95% of the press covering this White House will disagree. And for an American president to finally be completely aligned with such an overwhelming majority of what the American people think about Afghanistan is probably a tremendous relief to the American people."
And then we have Tom Friedman's take under the headline "Biden Could Still Be Proved Right in Afghanistan"
Where the hell is this media when it comes to speaking the truth about Trump's Peace Treating with the Taliban. That is what has put Biden in the spot he is in. Yes, we need to protect and remove our allies and those on the ground who did so much for us for the past 20yrs. However, I have heard such wide ranging numbers when it comes to how many of these people we need to move. I had originally way back when that it was a few thousand. Last night on MSNBC some guy who was unloading on Biden, says he has a list of over 180,000. WTH? Where did that figure come from. The guy said they have been on the ground going door to door getting names. Any slight chance they got names from anyone that wanted to leave whether they assisted our military or not? That just unreasonable to say the least. I got sick of listening to all of it starting yesterday after the speech. It was endless and at times just plain BS. Joe Scarborough spent 15 mins on the subject with a guest and not once did he mention Trump's peace treaty. Not once!
It was the mainstream media cheerleading in the runup to the invasion of Iraq that finally caused me to turn my back on them. Thank you for the context, Eric. We cannot afford to forget this.
Charles P. Pierce at Esquire nails it: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a37332102/afghanistan-reporting-anonymous-sources-ass-covering/
"There are a number of stories in your major news outlets on the subject of “the blame game” playing out within the administration as regards Afghanistan. There is no winning side to this game because everybody involved got Afghanistan wrong through ignorance, malice, or venality. The only one who got it right was the president. And the more stories I read from anonymous sources at the Pentagon or in what is laughingly called the intelligence “community,” the more I think that what’s driving this heated C-Y-A effort is that the president called bullshit on what everybody was telling him and acted on what was right there before his eyes. He pulled the emergency brake on the damn gravy train.
Believe this. Almost everything you’re reading on this topic in elite publications is an effort by somebody somewhere to duck out of their responsibility for 20 years of fantasy and illusion and outright lies. Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post called all of them out when he printed the so-called “Afghanistan Papers.” Anything that is attributed to the various anonymous sources that is in any way contradicted by Whitlock’s work is simply not to be trusted.
I caution regulars here at the shebeen to read any of the stories on this theme with a small bucket of salt handy. Almost all of them are vehicles for bureaucratic ass-covering, knife-fighting, and the manufacture of scarcely believable alibis. Lay over these the usual journalistic frosting of Dems In Disarray and a mysterious impulse to pull this president down to the level of the previous one for the love of a good horserace, and you get a three-layer fudge cake. Most of the country still believes the president did the right thing. A great many of the others are partisan hypocrites, outright liars, or undersecretaries of something who’d like to keep their jobs. Caveat lector, y’all."
The Liberally Biased Mainstream Media™ are going out of their way to fluff up Republicans, who want to take over the country in a fascist manner, while clubbing Democrats, who's "crime" is to keep democracy from falling into the hands of said fascist Republicans.
At this point, the Washington Post should just change its slogan to "Democracy Dies In Clickbaits!"
Well done. Nice analysis with excellent citations.
Bless Nicolle Wallace, indeed, but note The Times editorial saying the ending should have been handled better. I am reminded of two things:
1. The Times knows what went on inside? Even the usually brilliant David Sanger succumbed to the temptation to ignore reality so that he could spout conventional wisdom.
2. I am reminded of the old State Department joke. The director of policy planning comes into the secretary of state's office and says, "I've got a solution for the Middle East: Convert all Arabs to Judaism." The secretary of state says, "Great, but how do we do that?" The response? "Oh, I just do policy planning. That's a job for the director of policy implementation."