One-sided = Accurate? (Iraq Spin Edition)
During Katie Couric’s interview with Mary Matalin, I learned three things. The main focus of Matalin’s comments was an attack on those “partisan Democrats and reporters” who dare criticize President Bush’s Iraq policies. Lesson 1: Matalin has an exclusive right to be a partisan.
At one point in her tirade against Democrats such as Senator Kerry, she claimed that no Democrat had an alternative plan for addressing Iraq. I’m sure the sound was on in the green room when Matt Lauer suggested that the “plan” put forth by the President yesterday was a lot like the plan put forth by Senator Kerry earlier. So let me get this straight – Ms. Matalin thinks that Kerry’s plan was really no plan even though Bush’s plan seems to be a cut and paste of Kerry’s plan. Lesson 2: Matalin appears to be dismissing Bush’s plan. If so, it appears that the public agrees:
As President Bush launched a new effort Wednesday to gain public support for the Iraq war, a new poll found most Americans do not believe he has a plan that will achieve victory.
Lesson 3 has to be that James Carville needs to buy his wife a new dictionary for Christmas. Couric asked Matalin about the Los Angeles Times article entitled U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press. Matalin at first defended this practice by noting that Al Qaeda had beheaded people, which I guess is the classic change the topic tactic. When Couric noted that these planted stories were “one-sided”, Matalin fired back that the LA Times called these stories “accurate”. Here is the relevant portion of the article so you can judge for yourself:
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country. Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said.
If this Administration had done even half as well at rebuilding Iraq’s security forces as they do in their PR campaigns, the troops would have been home a year ago (or something like that).
Update: AB reader Oldvet provided a link to this news story as to how the White House and the Pentagon are denying any knowledge of these propaganda stories. I guess it’s the few bad apples defense all over again. But Major General Rick Lynch is not denying knowledge of this – he’s following Matalin and blaming it on Zarqawi’s behavior. But wait a second – if the White House was clueless, then how did Matalin coordinate her spin with Lynch so quickly?