August 21, 2003


Makes the BBC look like the O’Reilly Factor! I try to resist charging that skeptical reports about the war reflect impatient, biased “quagmirism.” (I was a quagmirist on Vietnam and haven’t changed my mind about that.) But today’s CBS News “Reality Check” by Mark Phillips (available as the “Post-War Reality Check” on this page) was so jaw-droppingly one-sided and opportunistically defeatist it’s turning me into Ann Coulter!

Turning Kaus into Ann Coulter? Sorry but it’s too early in the morning for the mental image of Kaus in a miniskirt. In fact, it’s always too early in the morning for that image.

As for the report (moved off the main page, it’s now here), I watched it and it’s as bad as Kaus says — almost a Kent Brockman parody of biased TV news, with statements by obvious Al Qaeda sympathizers (one of whom called the 9/11 hijackers the “magnificent 19”) that the U.S. approach is failing taken uncritically at face value because they go where Phillips wants to go. (What were they going to say: “Yes, the U.S. is succeeding, and we’re failing”?).

CBS News is clearly in a quagmire. I think they need more — and better — troops!

QUAGMIRE UPDATE: “Chemical Ali” has been captured.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kurt Dykstra emails:

I saw this at about 3 a.m. this morning while groggily hauling myself to bed. I thought I was having a bad dream when I saw and heard the “Reality Check.” Of course, that segment was preceded by another segment from a younger, alpha male-type reporter whose name I can’t recall, casually dressed for the desert heat, who breathlessly said, essentially, “Of course the US needs the UN now more than ever.” Of course! No quotes or video clips to buttress the comment or attribute it to someone else. Um, fella, how about you try reporting something instead of attempting the role of the stealth pundit.

In general, the entirety of the CBS segments on Iraq should have been framed on screen with the catchy title: “It’s 1968 All Over Again.” Not that I expect the news media to rah-rah the war, but I apparently expect too much from CBS to hope for dispassionate, even-handed, in-depth coverage of a lengthy and complex affair.

Glad to see the CBS farce has been noticed by others as well.

Yep. And though the piece suggests that U.S. strategy is simplistic, I have to wonder how anything could be more simplistic than viewing every conflict through the prism of an almost 40-year-old war.

[Aren’t you going to make the Baby Boomers feel kind of, well, old if you point out that the Vietnam war is nearly as old as you are? — Ed. Gee, do you think that’s why they don’t want to admit it?]

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader chides me for the above snarky faux-editorial colloquy. But, really, the Vietnam War was several wars ago. Heck, there are even Vietnam War reenactors, which should tell you all you need to know about how up-to-date a model it is. (Link via Miss Kickadee).

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