November 12, 2005 . . . . Chi Trib today has a lead story by Mark Silva about Bush whacking Dems –"Bush fires back at his war critics," – that is worth noodling. Is it written too much from a Democratic viewpoint, using all the Dem talking points, which MainStreamers tend to take at face value, without considering what’s big in the minds of The Other Side, who also read newspapers but in dwindling numbers? Does it deliver Bushie talking points in equal numbers? That’s for readers to decide.
For instance, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley showed unaccustomed "belligerence" in defending the "good faith" of the administration. Not "vigor"? Not if you’re on the other side of Hadley, reacting to him as opposition. The war-defending bloggers – Instapundit.com and others – are quite happy the administration is standing up and fighting.
Silva did give good space to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who said he was "not sure if the Democratic leaders were brainwashed" when they approved the war. Does Silva rememberGeorge Romney saying that about himself and thus killing his chances for the 1968 presidential nomination? Anyhow, it’s a good GOP talking point for people who do.
Another is Mehlman’s "cut-and-run politics based on what the polls show," which is nicely aimed.
However, what of this, right from Silva’s keyboard?
Democrats contend, however, that it was the administration's statements, now shown to be baseless, that caused them to believe the worst about Hussein's arsenal. [Italics added]
Wait a minute. That’s Dem line pure and simple, paying no need to what was said – Brits report, credible threat of WMD, etc. – that were accurate to a T. In any case, this is MainStreamer repetition until “everyone knows" it’s true. There it is, slipped into the middle of a news story, that "now shown to be baseless." Namely, what? The solid suspicion, voiced by Dems and Repubs alike, that Sadaam was mass-destruction-armed?
I may be missing something here, but it’s this sort of thing that makes reading newspaper articles a dangerous venture.
And then we have six solid inches on the jump page, the last five ‘graphs minus three, which drive home the case for Dems:
American support for the war, as well as confidence in the president's integrity, has diminished . . . . "Scooter" Libby [was indicted] . . . . 54 percent of Americans surveyed [call] the war a mistake. . . . a majority for the first time [is] questioning Bush's integrity. . . . even some Republicans have questioned the handling of intelligence before the war. [How long before the war? Even to the previous administration?] . . .
Bush again uses a military base at which to make his case, we then read, "reiterating his claim that Iraq has become the ‘central front’" in the war on terror. "His claim," yes. That proper scepticism, but reserved for the party in power, not for its critics. Why is that? Is there a cachet in being critical of power? Is there one in being anti-war, even when you sound too much like George Romney in ‘68?