The MSM, Tim Russert, characterized Reid’s comments thusly on Sunday:
Russert: A Democrat got in some hot water with, with his fellow party members as well. Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats, talked about the war in Iraq and the funding, and this is what he had to say.
(Videotape, April 19, 2007)
SEN. MAJ. LEADER HARRY REID (D-NV): I believe, myself, that the secretary of state, secretary of defense-and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows-that this war is lost.
(End of videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Several Democrats called me, Jon Meacham, and said, “We don’t want-we do not, do not want to be debating whether the, the war is lost or not.”
MR. MEACHAM: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Reid went to the floor and tried to fix it the next day. But what is the significance of that comment, and what’s the state of the debate?
MR. MEACHAM: I think we’re in this odd moment where everyone wants to support the troops, but move away from the mission. And the Democrats are living in terror of-and I think that’s the reaction to Senator Reid’s comments-is to look as though they’re being unsupportive of the troops, because that is a-to link all these things together-that’s an American value. That’s something we should all share. We should be-in the political culture at the moment, we should be supporting the troops in the field, we should be taking care of them when we come home. That’s become a very live political question. And when the language of lives wasted, which Senator McCain said on Letterman, and had to…
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama.
MS. GOODWIN: Obama.
MR. MEACHAM: Senator Obama. People don’t want to hear that more than 3,000 American lives have been wasted in a war that, whatever you think about the run-up and the intelligence failures, was undertaken with Congress and with the broad support of the American people and is a grand historical bet. And it’s something that we are not going to know whether it’s worked or not worked for a long time.
I think we do know whether it’s worked out at this point “Mr. Meachem.” If we as a people “don’t want to hear it” then that in no way negates your duty as a member of the press to report it. I didn’t want to hear that 32 people died last Monday through no fault of their own, but you had no problem reporting on that story, did you?
Furthermore, as far as I know, the stated mission of the Bush administration has been for several years now: We will stand down as the Iraqis stand up. Sounds pretty reasonable, somewhat reasonable, and many Americans still hold out hope that Iraqis can govern themselves and provide for their own security if they are given the chance regardless of whether they want an end to the war. In fact, this is, today, the central rationale for the surge and the continued occupation of Iraq by American forces.
So why has no one covered the story that the mission has changed and the Army no longer holds that Iraqis can bring an end to the sectarian violence that we see escalating month after miserable month in Iraq? From McClatchy Newspapers last week:
WASHINGTON – Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.
Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.
No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important. “We are just adding another leg to our mission,” Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq will undertake.
But evidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the policy shift publicly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made no public mention of training Iraqi troops on Thursday during a visit to Iraq.
All we get for context is: Democrat lands in hot water and Democrat not supporting the troops. Why was there no discussion of the abandonment of last shred of justification for the surge and the continued presence of American troops in Iraq?
Bill Moyers will be answering this question for us on Wednesday night, so set your Tivos for the return of Moyers’ Journal on PBS:
Bill Moyers Journal: Buying the War | Excerpt | PBS (4:49)
Editor and Publisher offered a review last week:
NEW YORK (Commentary) The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called “Buying the War,” which marks the return of “Bill Moyers Journal.” E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week.
While much of the evidence of the media’s role as cheerleaders for the war presented here is not new, it is skillfully assembled, with many fresh quotes from interviews (with the likes of Tim Russert and Walter Pincus) along with numerous embarrassing examples of past statements by journalists and pundits that proved grossly misleading or wrong. Several prominent media figures, prodded by Moyers, admit the media failed miserably, though few take personal responsibility.
The war continues today, now in its fifth year, with the death toll for Americans and Iraqis rising again — yet Moyers points out, “the press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush Administration to go to war on false pretenses.”
And they never will come to terms with their role as enablers because they are still enabling policy that puts our security as a nation at risk. I think the answer to why is that the DC press corps values access over anything else and doing their job as public servants is something to be debated in the ivory towers of academia under the auspices of “ethics and responsibilities.”
Out in the real world of the MSM no one gives a damn about their country or their professional obligations to the citizens of this country.
McClatchy used to be Knight-Ridder and Wednesday night Moyers will single them out as one of the only news organization that got it right on Iraq in the run-up to the war. He will conclude that K-R was not part of the vaunted DC elite press corps and that they covered the story as a job and not a favor to their friends in high places.
What I don’t get is how the DC elites can still have friends in high places anyway? Oh that’s right, a president is actually a King while he’s in office. Look at what Russert said about Gonzalez on the Sunday MTP program: “It’s hard for a president when someone comes from their home state.” Well that explains why Gonzalez will stay in office – homies forever.