The game is over
If the mainstream media is going to continue to put out stories that can be so quickly and easily proved false, misleading, or worse, what are we left to conclude other than,
The Game Is Over. Capitulation Time.
The front page NY Times story about missing weapons in Iraq was breathtaking, especially in the wake of the Dan Rather phony document controversy. In each case, the shoddy reporting was trashed within hours. Don't miss our interview with Scott Johnson of Powerline about the Rather controversy on the Pundit Review Radio Archives to the right.
Despite everything that has changed around them, the mainstream media is still working out of the old playbook. The New York Times drives other media outlets to repeat a story which becomes a national sensation for a few news cycles. With one week to go, the intention here is clear. Having seen this play before, John Kerry is following the script, repeating this claim even though it has been proven to be a fraud.
Noemie Emery wrote a great piece in The Weekly Standard (10/11/2004) titled The Myth of the War Room that looks pretty smart right now,
The Democrats planned to capitalize on the now-notorious Dan Rather 60 Minutes
"scoop" of September 8, and prepared a film, "Fortunate Son," that carried on
the charges of dereliction of duty made in the program, and even incorporated
footage from the show (although not of the phony memos that had been used to
document the accusations). But they kept the film up for days after it had
become clear that the entire Guard issue was tainted and toxic, that Rather's
claims had been based on obvious forgeries, and that the controversial name at
the heart of the scandal had become Rather and not Bush.
THE KERRY CAMPAIGN is so enamored of the rapid response that it is given to attacking by reflex, even when the response is doomed to be counter-productive or so dissonant that it makes people wince.
How right she was. The Kerry campaign released an instant response ad to the now discredited New York Times story in which he said,
The obligation of a commander in chief is to keep our country safe. In Iraq,
George Bush has overextended our troops and now failed to secure 380 tons of
deadly explosives. The kind used for attacks in Iraq, and for terrorist
Cliff May has an interesting observation on The Corner tonight,
RICHARD HOLBROOKE TO JOHN GIBSON On Fox just now re the missing explosives: “John, you don’t know what happened and I don’t know what
But the Kerry campaign is making ads placing the blame?
Deacon at Powerline comments on John Edwards taking this ball and running it with,
These are exactly the kind of explosives terrorists want. They're the dangerous
weapons we wanted to keep from falling in the hands of terrorists. And now these
explosives are out there, and we have no idea who's got them.
So Edwards is now acknowledging that when we invaded Iraq Saddam Hussein possessed "exactly" the kind of "dangerous weapons" that "terrorists want." Does Edwards still believe that this was "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?"
Noemie Emery gets the last word,
Master politicians such as Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Reagan were tough, but
they could also inspire, and none ever pulled stunts such as these. They were
too self-protective, as well as too sensible: Since Kerry took up his pugnacious
persona, his ratings have dropped like a rock. None of this seems likely to
deter other Democrats, who, believing as they do that Republicans only win by
mud-slinging, will want to sling more mud themselves.
The war-room obsession has serious drawbacks. It helps to be tough, and to
press your case strongly. But first, you need something to say.