20 Dec 2006

Rich Lowry Quaffs the Media’s Kool Aid, and Pronounces It Good

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As the anti-war left’s victory, and America’s defeat, seems increasingly inevitable, there has been an unseemly scurry on the part of leading elements of the neocon, and even conservative, punditocracy in the direction of seats on the apparently winning side, the side of Defeatism.

Nobody wants to be found rooting for the losing side anymore. It hurts one’s own image in the community of fashion to be found in association with failure.

National Review’s Rich Lowry yesterday joined the stampede, and tells us we should have been listening to the New York Times all along.

The conservative campaign against the mainstream media has scored notable successes. It exposed Dan Rather’s forged National Guard memo and jumped all over Newsweek’s absurd report of a Koran-flushing incident at Guantanamo Bay. The mainstream media is biased, arrogant, prone to stultifying group-think and much more fallible than its exalted self-image allows it to admit. It also, however, can be right, and this is most confounding to conservatives.

In Iraq, the media’s biases happen to fit the circumstances. Being primed to consider any military conflict a quagmire and another Vietnam is a drawback when covering a successful U.S. military intervention, but not necessarily in Iraq. Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right — that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war…

In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it.

You wouldn’t find members of today’s chattering classes, left or right typically, remaining to die in the last ditch in any of history’s famous last stands, would you?

One can only too readily picture:

Unilateral Spartan Intervention at Thermopylae a Diplomatic and Strategic Gaffe

as the column title for an editiorial written by young Thersites, editor of the Hellenic Review.

Here’s a white feather for Mr. Lowry.

One Feedback on "Rich Lowry Quaffs the Media’s Kool Aid, and Pronounces It Good"

Dominique R. Poirier

Surprise me a man who holds no less than a position as editor of a magazine such as the National Review (for which quite bright, down-to-earth, and well advised minds write regularly, by the way) reduces the scope of the U.S. mission in Iraq to so a narrowing and populist vision of things.

That newspapers such as the New York Times exist is a good thing, I think, since as long as the expression of disagreement over any national issue or policy exemplifies democracy and freedom of speech in America (not all democracies in the world can pretend and demonstrate that. Isn’t it?)

But, hey, come on! Don’t mix genres. Don’t inverse roles. The New York Times is the New York Times and the National Review is the National Review. Even in considering that the National Review is not a strategic think tank’s publication after all, how in the hell can its editor suddenly sweep under the rug strategic and geopolitical realities a person like him cannot ignore; because whatever there is a “tide” or not in Iraq, to use Rich Lowry’s own word, failure or withdrawal are not acceptable once all ensuing inescapable implications and consequences of such options are considered.


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