Saturday, October 05, 2013


Q: Hey, kids! How do you say "we got spanked repeatedly by the grownup media on relevant international stories because we were camping out at national landmarks hoping for more SlimFast stories" without admitting it?

A: "Fox News confirms"!

US Navy SEALs have conducted a raid of the Al Shabaab militant group in Somalia, killing at least one militant, Fox News confirms.

A Libyan Al Qaeda leader, wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa, has been captured in Tripoli by U.S. forces, Fox News confirms.

Let's bear in mind here, of course, that the Nation's Newspaper of Record is not allowed to make things up just because it's, you know, the Nation's Newspaper of Record:

But at a moment when President Obama‚Äôs popularity is flagging under the weight of his standoff with Congressional Republicans and his leadership criticized for his reversal in Syria, the simultaneous attacks are bound to fuel accusations that the administration was eager for a showy victory. 

As we discussed yesterday, if there's any evidence that some political figure or another's popularity is "flagging under the weight" of the SlimFast, you need to show it, not proclaim it. If you don't, we're entitled to infer that you're more interested in finding an ideologically appropriate narrative than in finding out what went on and reporting about it.

That's one reason the American press -- there's no reason to exclude the Times -- is appropriately described as a "realism-free zone." Realists wouldn't rule out the idea that there's some sinister domestic motive involved, but they'd give equal, if not preferred, weight, to the Clint Eastwood reading: We're a superpower, and we woke up today and decided to kill or capture some people who annoy us. Got a problem with that?

If the Times doesn't get the idea that national interest and domestic campaigns are basically separate creatures, it's still the same paper that lapped up Judith Miller's bogus reporting in 2002, only with fewer copy editors. And that's not a good pattern to repeat.

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