Frank Rich on Newsweek

This may be the best piece yet on the right wing’s latest, most fiery attack to date on that evil, librul MSM:

IN the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Fareed Zakaria wrote a 6,791-word cover story for Newsweek titled “Why Do They Hate Us?” Think how much effort he could have saved if he’d waited a few years. As we learned last week, the question of why they hate us can now be answered in just one word: Newsweek.

“Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care,” said the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, as he eagerly made the magazine the scapegoat for lethal anti-American riots in Afghanistan. Indeed, Mr. McClellan was so fixated on destroying Newsweek – and on mouthing his own phony P.C. pieties about the Koran – that by omission he whitewashed the rioters themselves, Islamic extremists who routinely misuse that holy book as a pretext for murder.

That’s how absurdly over-the-top the assault on Newsweek has been. The administration has been so successful at bullying the news media in order to cover up its own fictions and failings in Iraq that it now believes it can get away with pinning some 17 deaths on an errant single sentence in a 10-sentence Periscope item that few noticed until days after its publication. Coming just as the latest CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll finds that only 41 percent of Americans think the war in Iraq is “worth fighting” and only 42 percent think it’s going well, this smells like desperation. In its war on the press, this hubristic administration may finally have crossed a bridge too far.

… The only thing more ridiculous is the spectacle of the White House’s various knee-jerk flacks on cable news shoutfests and in the blogosphere characterizing Newsweek as representative of a supposedly anti-American, military-hating “mainstream media.” It wasn’t long ago that the magazine and the co-author of the Periscope item, Michael Isikoff, were being cheered by the same crowd for their pursuit of Monica Lewinsky and Kathleen Willey.

As for the supposed antimilitary agenda of the so-called mainstream media, the right should look first at itself. In its eagerness to parrot the administration line, it’s as ready to sell out the military as any clichéd leftist. For starters, it thought nothing of dismissing the judgment of Gen. Carl Eichenberry, our top commander in Afghanistan, who, according to Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the riots were “not at all tied to the article in the magazine.”

I hope Rich is right, that this time they’ve gone too far. But Michelle Maglalang and Charles Johnson and Roger Simon are still riding the story hard, as though it were Rathergate 2, and it’s disheartening to see their ability to whip the uninformed into a frenzy. (I can almost see Johnson standing in front of a huge bonfire, burning copies of Newsweek, his ponytail flapping in the night-time breeze.)

I see it as a part of the dumbing down of America, intoxicating people with slogans and memes, giving them a victim to blame everything on so those responsible don’t take the heat. McClellan’s performance was so ludicrous, so cynical, such an example of pandering to people’s base emotions, so devoid of ciritical thought or reason I had to marvel at his sheer audacity.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

Call me pessmistic, but I think the right-wing élite will get away with it.

I mean, if they can pooh-pooh reliable reports that a prostitute — a gay male prostitute — obtained special access to the White House, what on earth could the Bushketeers possibly do that would cause them to turn against Our Leader?

Li’l George could be filmed eating barbecued fetuses at a Klan jamboree while fucking a German shepherd, and Johnson & Magalamadingdong & Co. would simply dismiss the ensuing brouhaha (if any) as merely another example of “liberal MSM” posturing.

They are, quite simply, beyond hope. And redemption.

May 22, 2005 @ 9:06 am | Comment

I wish people would not call these people “right wing elite.” It gives a bad impression and a status they do not deserve. You could call them intellectual or actual thugs, liars, neo-nazis or unAmerican; whatever fits.

May 23, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

“pathetic facist wannabes?”

May 24, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment

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