The Daily Howler has been covering the media’s distortions on the Iraq issue. What makes this so notable is that the Howler is usually supportive of Democrats, and heavily defended Clinton and Gore from impeachment onwards.
But the Howler smells a rat on this issue, and they’re not going to let the media get away with the spin.
What is happening here? In the case of individual scribes, we can’t tell you, but in the aggregate, this pattern is familiar. To all appearances, the press corps has reached an overall judgment—the Bush Admin spun the intelligence on Iraq. That overall judgment may well be true. But as you know, when the press corps reaches an overall judgment, they often start looking for easy-to-tell stories to illustrate their global belief. If they have to change or make up facts, all too often they’re willing to do it. In this case, the Washington press corps has clearly decided that the Bush Admin mistreated intelligence. And, as they have done many times in the past, they seem to be massaging some basic facts to convince you of that global conclusion.
Of course, Democratic partisans are taking cheap shots at the Howler:
Amazing! HOWLER readers staged a Tuesday tantrum, forced to read offensive material that could be interpreted as vaguely semi-supportive of Bush! Indeed, yesterday’s e-mails showed how hard our readers are willing to work if they have a worthwhile project. Yesterday’s project? Readers set out to prove that conduct which was repulsive when done to Clinton and Gore is highly correct when done to Bush. HOWLER readers worked extra-hard, trying to defend the indefensible.
That’s exactly what the Democrats want to do. They’re not interested in finding out the truth – they’re interested in crucifying the President. This is a witchhunt, pure and simple. The press are still pursuing a connection between the forged documents and the State of the Union speech when it has been amply demonstrated that no such link exists. The President did not cite the flawed information, he cited information from the British government which was unrelated to the forged information.
This scandal is going to backfire on the Democrats, and it is going to backfire hard. By doggedly attacking Bush, the Democrats are going to lose any sight of pursuing their own agenda. The 2004 campaign will be an orgy of acrimony from the Democratic left and all the President will have to do is rise above it and run on a forward-looking policy. It’s exactly what happened to the Democrats in 1972 with McGovern and 1984 with Mondale, and to the Republicans in 1996 with Dole. Attack dog politics is suicide, and the Democrats have their guns firmly pointed at their foot and they’re all jockeying for who gets to pull the trigger.