Monday, May 24, 2010

You Want To See Media Bias? Lookie Here!

Fred Hiatt runs the editorial page of the Washington Post, and he's a relatively moderate guy. Much of the time, I find myself head-nodding to his columns. Not today.

His subject is a lack of interest in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pointing to last week's primary elections, Hiatt calls the candidates on a lack of debate/interest in the wars. Hiatt actually takes a pretty good stab at generalizing the dangers of a lack of sincere policy debate about the direction these wars are taking, citing among other things, a continuing distance between the military and the society it observes.

In an effort to suggest why this state of events may be, Hiatt offers two unsatisfying options. From the left, the reason for a lack of debate is (of course) the masterful hand of The One in quieting both the left and right with his nuanced policy choices. From the right, it's because the President has simply chosen not to be a "war President" and doesn't spend his time talking about the war.

So you ask, where is the bias here? Perhaps it is in the simple fact that Hiatt does not even for a second consider the startling change in the tone of press coverage of the wars since the Obama Administration came to power. It's no secret that the workaday press was in the tank for Obama, and the notion that they would hammer their man with the intensity that they took on George W. Bush is laughable. It is simply inconvenient to do so, and it doesn't fit the narrative--nor does (in fact) Obama's continuing and in some cases extending--the Bush approach to the War on Terror in much of its reach.

So--the editorial page editor of one of the nation's leading newspapers looks around for reasons the war is not in the headlines and cannot for the life of him come to ask whether or not it has anything to do with the actions of the folks who buy ink by the barrel. He looks to what?--a Congress controlled by the President's party? Nope. Not gonna happen there. But as long as the Press is also controlled by the President's party, it won't happen there either.


"The Hammer" said...

We were just talking about this very subject this weekend. A consensus was reached. Afghanistan is, if there ever was one, an unwinnable war. But it's not even on the press's radar.

Robert Thorn said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Hammer. Hubris.

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