How Bad is the US Media? Exponential Snarkiness Increase Edition

I hate to point fingers, but this and this from Karen Tumulty is substantially less than adequate to put it quite charitably. Both posts concern Obama’s supposed flip-flop on his Iraq position and the ignorant McCain camp spin. This is Exhibit A in what happens when the media sees its job as refereeing the spin from opposing political camps instead of you know like studying the matter and reaching a decent conclusion (open to further amendment to be sure but a decision nonetheless). Otherwise you get the intellectual vertigo displayed from Tumulty. Worse still as you will see in the 2nd post, the answer is embedded in her own post staring her in the face.

From Obama’s website:

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

Now the bruhaha over nothing has to do with pre-spun rumors from the McCain camp that the MSM bought hook line and sinker (see NyTimes that bastion of liberal America-hating doing it here) that Obama was going to change his position on Iraq. So when some words were heard and were not clear to our crack media team, it was proof of the McCain hypothesis. Ugh. In Tumultyian fashion, Jeff Zeleny has the answer right in front on him in his own post and can’t find it to save his arse.

From Zeleny’s article quoting BO:

“My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything that I’ve said, was always premised on making sure that our troops were safe. I said that based on the information that we had received from our commanders that one to two brigades a month could be pulled out safely, from a logistical perspective. My guiding approach continues to be that we’ve got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable. I’m going to continue to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold.”

[JZ comment] In the afternoon, this is how he addressed the same topic:

[BO] “I’ve also said that I would be deliberate and careful in how we got out, that I would bring our troops home at a pace of one to two brigades per month and that pace would have our combat troops out in 16 months. That position has not changed. I have not equivocated on that position, I am not searching for maneuvering room with respect to that position.”


In the end, one of the biggest differences between Mr. Obama’s first and second appearances in front of the cameras here on Thursday was his emphasis. The first time, he did not include a line saying that he specifically intended to end the war. By the time he returned for Take Two, that line was a prominent one.

Really dude? Honestly…they pay you for that fecal matter?

He said he was removing troops from a war-zone. I’m betting (and this is a major limb I’m now out on) that Obama didn’t specifically mentioning ending the war because he assumed rational people understood removing troops from a war as taking logical steps to ending it. Kinda like how it’s done; the one implying the other.

Imagine if Obama said he was going to “work on his jump shot” and there was some confusion as to what this could possibly signify so he had to have a second press conference to say “Let me be perfectly clear. I intend to play basketball.” It kinda goes with the territory and would be, you know, assumed. This scenario is equal to the level of intelligence displayed with regard to Obama’s Iraq position by the aforementioned members of the Fourth Estate.

And since nothing can be assumed here the analogy works as follows–

  • working on jump shot: removing troops AS playing basketball: ending a war.

The sound you hear is me stabbings pencils into my eyes.

This is pathetic that I have to write this, but here goes. A summary version of what Obama said:

His plan from the beginning (as he has long run on and promised) is to change the strategy from staying unconditionally/occupation (i.e. McCain) to disengagement, withdrawal call it what you will. When he made the plan last year his best case scenario (remember when Sam Power used those words?) was that you could reasonably draw down 1-2 brigades per month which would take roughly 16 months or so to get to the number he has in mind (somewhere it seems between 30-40,000) as his “residual force.”

He is however a thinking guy and if something goes wrong with the draw down (which my bet is it will) or it just takes longer than expected (because like I don’t know–-IT’S A WAR and things don’t always go according to plan…just as Prez Bush) than that timeline is not in stone. Especially if US soldiers’ lives are put at risk. This would be called being a responsible Commander in Chief–i.e. doing your best to not get your people killed. He does however still think (as of right now prior to his trip from what he is being briefed one would assume) that the 1-2 brigade/month thing is doable.

The only “flexibility” is in relation to the tactics of the withdrawal. Not the strategy. Although since the President, the Republican Party, and of course the media (playing “referee”) hasn’t understood the basic distinction between a strategy (like building a unified democratic Iraq) and a tactic (like the Surge) why expect it now?

Wow that was hard. I’m the guy in his proverbial pajamas–actually a t-shirt and jeans–at his computer at home and even I figured out. Can I get a job at the NyTimes and/or Time Magazine now?

Update I: Just so it’s clear, there are legitimate points to make/debate about his strategy, about whether 16 months is reasonable timeline. About whether we should go into draw down mode? Or Conditional Engagement even. Plenty there to argue. What is not open to debate is this idea that he has somehow changed his basic position. He hasn’t.

Iow this is just pure bulls–t and should be called for what it is:

ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released the following statement from McCain spokesman Brian Rogers concerning Barack Obama’s remarks on Iraq:

“Since announcing his campaign in 2007, the central premise of Barack Obama’s candidacy was his commitment to begin withdrawing American troops from Iraq immediately. He campaigned in Iowa, New Hampshire and across the country reaffirming this pledge to the American people.

“Today, Barack Obama reversed that position proving once again that his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain’s position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind when the facts on the ground dictate it. Indeed, the facts have changed because of the success of the surge that John McCain advocated for years and Barack Obama opposed in a position that put politics ahead of country.

“Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him for accepting John McCain’s principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with General Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago.”

Speaka English Camp McStraight Talk? Maybe you should get some qualified 6 years old to read your memos before sending them out. They’d likely do a superior job then this Rovian disgrace.

As the children could tell you, the first quotation of Obama’s had to do with him talking about gathering information to see if his 16 month timeline would still be the BEST TIMELINE he could offer. i.e. It had to with his tactics. Not his strategy. Memo: just because you guys in Camp BBQ-styled McMavericky can’t understand the difference between a tactic (timeline/pace for withdrawal) and a strategy (stay or start to get out) doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t.

So in the second conference, he made clear (since it should have been obvious to people with functioning brains, even at half capacity but hey this is US politics we’re talking about) that he was NOT talking about his strategy. That is not talking about changing his position from (some) immediate withdrawals. He is still going to do that only the speed/numbers are open to some possible change. But his clear point is to get the majority of the combat troops out in as fast a manner as is prudent and safe at this or any juncture. Wow. Can I get a job on the McCain Campaign Now? [Edit: Second thought, probably not].

Update II: Oh, it gets worse, much worse:

Tumulty (#2) again:

UPDATE: Danny Diaz of the RNC sends me this e-mail: “If there is any confusion, it should be laid at the feet of the Obama campaign. They are the ones obligated to articulate their Iraq position and I think scheduling two pressers in one day to try and answer questions about their stance tells the story.”

SadlyNo. The confusion is either A)you can’t understand English and are too stupid to figure it out or ask someone who has or B)This is just political gamesmenship of the worst cynical sort (and pretty piss poor at that although it did manage to penetrate the permeable defenses/mental fog of the media elite). My assumption (charitably???) is the latter; i.e. your being a bad boy not a dumb one. Though frankly I don’t which is worse.

Update III: Worser still. Even the morons of the looney fringe left now buy the McCain line. Symmetry achieved. People beaten with stupid sticks to the head all around.

It’s just as John Cole says: A Democrat has to run against the media, the Republicans, and his own f’in party/supporters. No wonder they tend to lose.

Jesus, Lord, God Almighty help us. [If I’m still alive] When the great-grandkids ask me what it was like living in the beginning of the end of the American Empire, I will point them (however that will be done) to this post.

Published in: on July 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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