Times Watch for November 11, 2003
Right-Wing Bloviators Pressured Craven CBS
Editor Frank Rich notes approvingly that the TV movie on Jessica Lynch portrays the rescued POW as a lowly pawn of larger, mysterious forces operating in the shadows, whether in Baghdad or Washington. Then he shifts to bashing right-wing bloviators for criticizing the biased CBS miniseries The Reagans.
Rich rants in Sundays Arts & Leisure section: At a crucial moment in Iraq, as American casualties pile up and the poll numbers of support for our post-victory engagement there go down, she's getting ready for her close-up.What does it say that Saving Jessica Lynch is more candid than much of the reportage on the war?....While its title character is still a hero, as she must be, the movie portrays Private Lynch as a lowly pawn of larger, mysterious forces operating in the shadows, whether in Baghdad or Washington.
Rich then critiques the unrestrained triumphalism of Iraq war coverage (Fox News is to blame, naturally) and lambastes craven CBS for relinquishing its biased miniseries on Ronald Reagan: The so-called Fox effect on the other networks may finally be relinquishing some of its hold-except at CBS. This week it replayed its craven Vietnam-era cancellation of the Smothers Brothers by yanking its Reagans mini-series after fire from right-wing bloviators and the Republican National Committee.
Rich sees war censorship on the part of the administration: The Bush administration tries to shut down pictures as effectively as it has stonewalled Congressional committees and the bipartisan commissions looking into intelligence failures surrounding 9/11. On the day of the Chinook's fall, the president stayed off-camera on his ranch in Crawford, resting up for his next round of fund-raisers, and sent out only a written statement of grief. Reuters reported on Monday that journalists seeking access to Ramstein, the American air base in Germany to which Private Lynch was first taken, had been told that the defense department would not lift its policy prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins, even for the Chinook casualties. (A rule, Rich could have mentioned, that has been in effect since 1991.)
He continues: The president did not go to the funerals of the nine fellow soldiers who died in the same ambush that led to Private Lynch's capture; he hasn't gone to any funerals for soldiers killed in action, The Washington Post reports. Of course, if he had, Rich could have easily turned around and accused Bush of exploiting the grief of soldiers families for political gain.
For the rest of Rich on Jessica Lynch, click here.
George W. Bush | Iraq War | Jessica Lynch | Frank Rich
Alan Cowells Anti-Cheney Conspiracy
London correspondent Alan Cowell reviews Loretta Napoleonis book Modern Jihad for the business section of Sundays paper, and brings up a favorite liberal conspiracy theory regarding Vice President Dick Cheneys old company: Ms. Napoleoni draws a startling comparison with the era of the Crusades against Islamic dominance, arguing that economic imperatives propel the war on terrorism in 2003 as much as they did in the 11th and 12th centuries. (Consider the contracts in Iraq awarded to the Halliburton Company and other United States businesses, and she may have a point.)
Cowell has a habit of making odd comparisons of the Iraq War to ancient wars, both real and legendary. Back on March 27, Cowell dismissed outrage over Iraqi ploys like fake surrenders against U.S. troops, arguing such tactics (his term) go back to (mythical) Greece: Urban warfare has always set its own rules of guile and deceit-from the legendary use of a wooden horse at Troy over 3,000 years ago to modern times when war is broadcast live 24 hours a day.
For the rest of Cowells review of Modern Jihad, click here.
Book Review | Dick Cheney | Alan Cowell | Halliburton | Iraq War