Sunday, August 27, 2006

How The Washington Post Aided Karl Rove Today

In a Washington Post article on Iraq posturing in the upcoming mid-term campaign, comes the following quote:

"They want to give us this cut-and-run moniker and accuse us of a pre-9/11 mentality," said Diane Farrell, a Democrat who is challenging Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.). "I absolutely refuse to be manipulated by Karl Rove and company."

Sad to say, the same can't be said for Jim VandeHei and Zachary A. Goldfarb. Their article plays into Rove's hands.

The piece, titled, "Democrats Split Over Timetable For Troops," starts with the following:

Most Democratic candidates in competitive congressional races are opposed to setting a timetable for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, rejecting pressure from liberal activists to demand a quick end to the three-year-old military conflict.

So, the only people who want a timetable for pulling out U.S. troops are "liberal activists?"

In a CNN poll earlier this month, this question was asked,

"Which comes closer to your view about U.S. troops in Iraq? The U.S. should set a timetable for withdrawal by announcing that it will remove all of its troops from Iraq by a certain date. The U.S. should keep troops in Iraq as long as necessary without setting any timetable for withdrawal."

The result? By a 57-40% plurality, most Americans want some kind of timetable.

Why, instead of labelling those who favor a timetable with wording that conjures up images of left-wing extremism, wasn't the reality of the polling on this issue part of the story?

Ironically, the following is buried later in the story:

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, a nonpartisan polling organization, found this month that the public is evenly split over pulling out U.S. troops, with 48 percent in favor of keeping troops in Iraq and 46 percent in favor of withdrawal. Yet even among those who favor bringing U.S. troops home, only a third support doing so immediately. Asked another way, 52 percent of those polled said they would favor setting a timetable for getting out, while 41 percent would oppose that.

That seems to me to be a rather convoluted way of describing the public's mood in Iraq. And what of even mentioning other polls that clearly support a majority favoring ending our involvement, such as the poll I cited above?

This introduction sets the tone for the entire article.

The 3rd paragraph begins this way:

The large number of Democrats opposed to a strict timeline for ending the military operations runs contrary to the assertion by President Bush and top Republicans that Democrats want to "cut and run" amid mounting casualties and signs of civil war.

One would think that this would be followed up by how Democrats view the official GOP position. For me, the counter to a 'cut-and-run' charge would be 'lie-and-die.' It is no less offensive. If the position on the left is going to be equated with cowardice, why treat the official GOP position with kid gloves? I just don't get it.

The bottom line, though, is that nothing in this article comes close to describing the president's position that way.

Part of the problem is that the article is essentially an examination of an unwillingness by many Democratic candidates to call for a pullout in Iraq. Because of this, one almost gets the sense that supporting an end to our occupation in Iraq is a fringe position.

It's rather subtle, but for me, it demonstrates how Karl Rove gets assisted by the Washington Press Corps on a daily basis.

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