Monday, June 6, 2005

DSM Update

It’s not exactly all about the Downing Street Memo, but nonetheless Tim Grieve points to it as another chink in the Bush administration’s armor.

The mainstream press has a lot to answer for when it comes to Iraq. How did reporters and editors at the nation’s major newspapers fall so hard for the Bush’s administration’s pre-war spin on Iraq? Why has the press all but ignored the Downing Street memo? And why can’t somebody ask George W. Bush about the memo’s allegation that he and his administration “fixed” the facts and intelligence to make a case for war that wasn’t there otherwise?

But we take a break from the drum-beating today to salute Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker for their report on Iraq in Sunday’s Washington Post. Get past the “he said, she said headline” — “Bush’s Optimism On Iraq Debated” — and you’ll find in the VandeHei/Baker piece a fine bit of “emperor has no clothes” reporting.

“President Bush’s portrayal of a wilting insurgency in Iraq at a time of escalating violence and insecurity throughout the country is reviving the debate over the administration’s Iraq strategy and the accuracy of its upbeat claims,” VandeHie and Baker report. And in the next 1,300 words or so, the two reporters make it clear that there’s not really much of a debate at all: What there is is a “disconnect” between the administration’s “Rose Garden optimism” and the reality on the ground.

On a tangential note, I was alerted by the Faithful Correspondent to the summary in Liberal Oasis of the can of whup-ass that William Schulz of Amnesty International opened on Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. (Oh, Chris, does your father know how you make your living…?) The FC also suggests that if you’d like to join AI, it would be a good way to spend $25.