Cup 3/4 empty as usual

Chi Trib reports Afghanistan elections, hailed by some as huge success story in implanting democracy, but can’t help itself, drawn as moth to flame to bad-news aspect:

“Afghan elections largely peaceful But turnout isn't huge and ballots confused” is a soft-lead story (“Fatima picked up a ballot but did not know what to do next”) featuring problems. 

Where the hell is the excitement about this?  It’s as bad as Jim Warren yawning (and telling us about it) at an impeachment hearing.  Who are these detached people and where do they get off shouldering responsibility for informing us about great events?

“[M]illions braved fears” to vote, we are told in the 7th ‘graph.  But “some people did not seem nearly as enthusiastic as in last year's” election, we are told in the 8th.  And there were fewer, “it also appeared.”  (To whom besides the reporter and in how many places.)  And that’s it for the achievement. 

This color story, going with “Afghans go to polls First parliamentary election since 1969 is marked by confusion, intimidation reports, apparent low turnout” (a Newsday story) is it as far as the Trib web site goes.  The Newsday story probably ran in the day’s hard copy too; I am not going back to the dining room table to find out. 

The Newsday lead is businesslike, which is always good but too often not emulated:

PAGHMAN, Afghanistan -- Afghans voted yesterday in their first parliamentary elections since 1969, virtually completing the formation of a national government to replace the militant Muslim Taliban regime.

This sounds very good to me, but wait.  2nd ‘graph:

But many Afghans voiced confusion and uncertainty about the process. The day lacked the confident, celebratory atmosphere of October's presidential election, and turnout appeared to be lower than last year, monitoring groups said.

At least he cites monitors, presumably placed around the country.  It’s a cautious tale, with “journalists and election monitors” nationwide reporting cases of voters not knowing how to vote.  And the winners could be former oppressors, as a Paghman strong man of whom “a street vendor” says a criminal courtroom should be his location, not a ballot.  Otherwise, the reporter cites Human Rights Watch, the vendor presumably giving color to a story that in sum alleges widespread fraud without saying so. 

Why not?  Insufficient evidence?  And who are the monitors?  Not Jimmy Carter, I trust.  And Human Rights Watch?  Is it another International Red Cross, whose top man tore into “selfish” U.S. at tsunami time?  I’m suspicious of international bodies, period.

In any case, this Newsday and echoing Tribune (color) reporting is rather in contrast with “A HAPPY DAY IN AFGHANISTAN” at www.instapundit.com, where we are linked to a CanWest News Service story out of Kandahar, “'Optimistic' day at polls,” opening with

Afghanistan's elections Sunday proved a mostly peaceful anticlimax to recent violence, appearing more like a national festival than a national crisis.

and picking up four ‘graphs later:

What patrolling Canadian soldiers witnessed instead [of widespread violence] on Sunday was a virtual national holiday. Afghans casually strolled down the streets of their two major cities after all non-essential traffic was ordered off the road, on their way to do something they thought would ensure a brighter future -- vote.

"Everyone is so happy. It's like we are waiting for Christmas to come," said Abdullah Shahood, a 22-year-old poll observer for candidate Abdul Razziq.

"Everyone is optimistic." 

Oh?  Tell it to your basic Mainstreamer, typified too often by Chi Trib.  If an early “Where the hell” in an commentary such as this is a betraying of one’s opinion, that’s o.k. when suspicion of MSM outlets has reached unprecedented levels.

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