Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's All About Them

What comes through most vividly to me in Howard Kurtz's snippet from his upcoming book is the narcissism of the news anchors. All think that they are the story. All pine to achieve the "glory" or a Walter Cronkite, who is widely credited with losing the Vietnam war.

There were ups and downs in World War II. We made mistakes and there was plenty of second guessing. But, I doubt that Edward R. Murrow ever imagined that it was up to him to decide the outcome of that war. Today's news anchors seem to think of themselves as figure skating judges whose duty it is to determine who wins.

For example, the perky Katie Couric:
"With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?' "

"The day everyone is hoping for, the day American forces can finally come home from Iraq, seems more and more elusive."

Embodied in her drivel is the assumption that leaving in defeat is the only option. Has it never occurred to her that the war is winnable or that victory might even be a desirable outcome?

And here is Kurtz's summary of the general attitude of the defeatist news anchors:
"By the fall of 2006, an urgent tone began creeping into the anchors' coverage of Iraq. No longer were they describing the war as a difficult battle whose outcome was in doubt, or depicting the military struggle as part of a larger effort to rebuild the battered country. Now it was all about the violence, and they were framing the situation as an unmitigated mess."

"In plain English," Brian Williams said, "this has been a tough week to be hopeful about the prospects for victory in Iraq."

Charlie Gibson spoke of a "killing spree," a "horrific surge in religious violence, Iraqis killing Iraqis in unprecedented numbers." After correspondent Terry McCarthy reported that 50 to 60 bodies were turning up each day, Gibson could not remain silent. "Sobering to see people simply driving by a body in the streets," he said. "But such is life in Baghdad today."

It's sad that a leftwing defeatist like Walter Cronkite has become the model to which all the news anchors aspire to emulate. We had the war all but won in Vietnam before Cronkite's crusade of disinformation. The Tet Offensive was an unmitigated disaster on the battlefield for the communists that Cronkite turned into a victory. And, as General Giap, commander of the North Vietnamese army said in his memoirs, until people like Cronkite and John Kerry came along to eviscerate American morale, the North was about to collapse.

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