Monday, March 28, 2005

The Must-Read Hat Trick

Three must-reads in a day? Why not? Lawrence Kaplan in TNR (may require registration, but it's free), the most 'centrist' of the leftwing journals, asks why we aren't hearing the good trends in Iraq from the mainstream media:
...over the past month, the news from Iraq has been unusually good. Depending on which military official you ask, insurgent attacks have dropped by either a third or nearly half. The number of Americans killed in action has declined. Civilians have begun killing terrorists. Over the past week alone, U.S. forces have killed scores of insurgents in lopsided battles--in the latest, Iraqi forces spearheaded the offensive.
Kaplan concludes ominously:
What worries me is that, unlike in Vietnam, where the press only broke with official policy after the Tet Offensive, the reverse may have happened in Iraq--that is, reporters have become so accustomed to bad news that they won't accept, and hence convey, good news for what it is. The result would be the same. As the late Peter Braestrup documents in his two-volume book on the subject, by the time the smoke had cleared from Tet and the good news had emerged that the Viet Cong had been defeated, no one was listening. Walter Cronkite had already declared the war a lost cause; The Wall Street Journal had already editorialized that Vietnam was "falling apart beneath our feet."

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