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Monday, March 25, 2013

 
Were the voices raising questions really "lonely ones"?

by digby

Paul Krugman flags Kathy Geier's excellent piece in the National Journal on the failed punditry of the Iraq war and discusses the challenge of being wrong in a very public way:

If you’re in the pundit business, you have a moral obligation always to second-guess your own motives, to ask yourself “Am I saying this because I’ve really thought it through? Or am I just feeding my ego?” And let’s be clear: ego-feeding happens on the left as well as the right, on matters economic and social as well as on questions of war and piece.

Indeed it does. (And even those who do manage to correct their own errors, even when they do it early, are often so ungracious and self-serving about it that they might as well have said nothing at all..)

The big story of the past few days on this is the decision of the Washington Post not to publish a similar piece by Greg Mitchell. (If you missed it, Mitchell wrote about it here.)This is par for the course for the Washington Post, of course. They've been so wrong for so long that they quite obviously don't know the difference anymore.

Someone tweeted this piece from a blog called Long Story Short Pier from 2004, which I think perfectly illustrates just how bad they've always been:

Better bloggers than I have ripped into the Washington Post’s shockingly deficient mea culpa for cheerleading us into an invasion of Iraq—but there’s this one bit that just won’t leave me alone:

Across the country, “the voices raising questions about the war were lonely ones,” [Executive Editor Leonard] Downie [Jr.] said. “We didn’t pay enough attention to the minority.”
You know what I have to say to that?

This is what I have to say to that.

500,000 in New York City.

100,000 in Seattle.

30,000 in Los Angeles.

10,000 in Philadelphia.

200,000 in Washington, DC.

200,000 in San Francisco.

20,000 in Portland.

3,000 in Chicago.

To say nothing of Akron and Amarillo, Anapolis Royal, Antigonish, Arcata , Armidale, Asheville, Ashland, Athens, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barrie, Beavercreek, Bellingham, Billings, Biloxi, Binghamton, Birmingham, Bisbee, Blacksburg, Bloomington, Boise, Boulder, Brampton, Brandon, Burlington, Butler, Calexico, Calgary, Canmore, Canton, Cape Cod, Cape Girardeau, Capt. Cook, Carbondale, Castlegar, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Charlottetown, Charlottesville, Chatanooga, Chico, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Coburg, Colorado Springs, Columbia (Missouri and South Carolina), Columbus, Comox Valley, Concord, Cornwall, Corpus Christi, Cortez, Corvallis, Croton-on-Hudson, Cowichan, Cumberland, Dallas, Dayton, Daytona Beach, Deland, Denton, Detroit, Dubuque, Durango, Ellensburg, Elkins, Encino, Erie, Eugene, Fairbanks, Farmington, Fayetteville, Fillmore, Findlay, Flagstaff, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Smith, Fort Wayne, Fredricton, Fresno, Gainesville, Galesburg, Galveston, Geneva, Grand Junction, Grand Prarie, Grand Rapids, Hadely, Hilo, Holland, Honolulu, Houston, Hull, Huntington, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Ithaca, Jasper, Jefferson City, Jersey City, Johnston, Juneau, Kamloops, Kansas City, Kelowna, Kezar Falls, Kingston, Knoxville, Lafeyette, Lancaster, Lansing, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Lawrence, Leavinsworth, Lethbridge, Lexington, Lilloet, Lincoln, Little Rock, Long Beach, Louisville, Macomb, Madison, McAllen, Meadville, Medicine Hat, Medford, Melbourne, Memphis, Minneapolis, Miami, Midland, Milwaukee, Minden, Mobile, Moncton, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Nanaimo, Naples, Nashville, Nelson, New Orleans, Newark, Niagra, Norfolk, North Bay, Olympia, Orange, Orangeville, Orillia, Orlando, Ottawa, Palm Desert, Parker Ford, Parry Sound, Pensacola, Peoria, Peterborough, Phoenix, Pittsboro, Plattsburg, Portland (Maine), Port Perry, Portsmouth, Qualicum Beach, Racine, Raleigh, Richland Center, Riverview, Rockford, Rolla, Sackville, St. Augustine, St. Catherines, St. Charles, St. Joeseph, St. Louis, St. Paul, St. Petersburg, Salem, Salt Lake City, Saltspring Island, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, Sandpoint, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santa Monica, Sarasota, Sault Ste. Marie, Savannah, Sherbrooke, Silver City, Sioux Falls, Sitka, Sonora, South Bend, South Haven, Spokane, Springfield, Starkville, St. John’s, Sudbury, Summertown, Tacoma, Tallahassee, Taos, Tehachapi, Temple, Thornbury, Tofino, Truro, Tulsa, Tucson, Valdosta, Vallejo, Vancouver, Watertown, Wausau, West Palm Beach, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsburg, Williamsport, Williamstown, Wilmington, Yakima, Yarmouth, York, and Youngstown.

Or 25,000 in Vancouver, Canada. 100,000 in Montreal. 10,000 in Toronto. A million in London. Two million in Rome. A million and change in Barcelona. 100,000 in Paris. 500,000 in Berlin. 100,000 in Dublin (30,000 in Belfast). 35,000 in Stockholm. 150,000 in Melbourne. 100,000 in Sydney. 200,000 in Damascus. 10,000 in Beirut. 100 in Mostar, Bosnia. 25,000 in Baghdad.

Eleven million, around the world. That’s what I have to say to that.

Here’s something else:

Good journalism—in a newspaper or magazine, on television, radio or the Internet—enriches Americans by giving them both useful information for their daily lives and a sense of participation in the wider world. Good journalism makes possible the cooperation among citizens that is critical to a civilized society. Citizens cannot function together as a community unless they share a common body of information about their surroundings, their neighbors, their governing bodies, their sports teams, even their weather. Those are all the stuff of the news. The best journalism digs into it, makes sense of it and makes it accessible to everyone.

Only I didn’t say it, of course.

Leonard Downie Jr. said it. The aforementioned Executive Editor of the Washington Post.

There’s a whole wide world out here, Mr. Downie, and we sure could use some help making sense of it all.

Do let us know when you come out into it.

Here in the United States, for many months it was considered anti-social if not unpatriotic to even broach one’s disagreement with the administration during these troubled times. I believe that yesterday began to fundamentally change all that. Despite some of the unintentionally hilarious commentary by reporters and pundits, who appeared to be gobsmacked by the realization that Junior is not as universally beloved by “normal” Americans as he is by Sally Quinn’s email web ring, it is now quite obvious that Bush is not perceived by one and all as a heroic figure of Churchillian proportions, here or around the world. The sheer numbers of the protesters have given people permission to dissent without the threat of broad social opprobrium and if nothing else we are free of the notion that it is unpatriotic to criticize the President.

What’s next? The war with Iraq is a done deal and who knows what the aftermath will be. But, the real issue is this notion of aggressive American hegemony and the pathetic inability of the current administration to explain their goals in a believable fashion, bring our historical allies along or re-evaluate policies in light of changing circumstances. They have failed the test of a decent civilized superpower and they must go.
digby, 16 February 2003

I was wrong about that, actually. The fever had not broken as I'd hoped. A month later, the Natalie Maine of the Dixie Chicks made her famous comment that she was ashamed the president was from Texas and all hell broke loose. And sadly, I'm afraid that the notion of "aggressive American hegemony" still has to be reckoned with, regardless of who is in the White House.





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