Media overpessimism on Iraq--Exhibit A.

A mostly political Weblog.
June 20 2005 12:17 AM

Mr. Pecker in a Pickle!

Plus--the LAT's wacky wikiness.

(Continued from Page 5)

More LAT Pathos:1) The New York Times beats Los Angeles Times by a day on the possible actions of prosecutors against aggressive paparazzi. It's not as if the prosecutors were Los Angeles prosecutors. ... Oh, wait ... 2) Fishbowl LA notices the NYT's Laura Holson cleaning the LAT's clock  on the Halo-movie rights story. The LAT's version is dull, but at least it misses the point! ... It's not as if ... 7:31 P.M. link

Make-up call: On Friday the L.A. Times ran a huge front-page (A-1) photo of an empty freeway--it had been closed for an hour after a shooting incident. Was the paper clumsily trying to make up for its embarrassing and emblematic failure to give any prominence to a far more dramatic and disruptive, nationally-covered freeway chase and four-hour closure two days before? You make the 'make-up call' call! ... P.S.: The photo's caption roped in the earlier incident, noting, "It was the second freeway closure this week. ..." This is classic LAT behavior. Don't report the news when it happens. Any newspaper can do that! But only magisterial, monopoly newspaper can ignore the news when it happens and then provide readers with an analysis of what the trend in the ignored news means a few days or weeks later! Coming soon: A Sunday thumbsucker on "Freeway Closures: What They Say About Southern California's Identity." ... Update: Here's another front-page story the LAT buried on B-3-- rich Malibu homeowners hire bulldozers to scoop up the public beach and move it onto their private property. No tabloidish populist potential there! ...  Note how the Times reporters stoke the drama of the story by calling it "as predictable as the spring tides" in the first paragraph and belittling it as a "brouhaha" later in the piece. ... The thoughtful analytic distance of the Pulitzer-winning Los Angeles Times enables it to see that what seemed like uniquely infuriating, mobilizing news--actual taking of beach!--is really just "the latest chapter in a long-running clash over public access and the private-property rights." The LAT formula for excitement! ... No need for citizen involvement. It's all being taken care of by the lawyers. ...  Suggestion to fellow Angelenos: Get your L.A. news from L.A. Observed! Kevin Roderick links to the Times stories worth reading, and you don't have to bring a soggy stack of paper into your house. He  covered the Tuesday freeway drama on ... Tuesday! 1:46 P.M. link

Friday, June 10, 2005

Deep Throat--The Prequel: Why did Mark Felt leak to Bob Woodward ... about the Wallace assasination attempt? Mark Blumenthal puts together the evidence. The result? Felt looks considerably more non-venal than has recently been charged, while the allegedly reformed Chuck Colson looks like a tendentious faker!10:18 P.M.   link

Don't Blame Kerry. Blame E.J.! E.J Dionne argues that Democratic Kerry-bashing is "dangerous because dissing Kerry is an easy way for Democrats to evade discussion of what the party needs to do to right itself." True. But Dionne then claims another sort of "cheap grace" by blaming the 

Bush machine ...so skillful at turning little things into big things — always with help from Rush and Fox and the rest of the party-line conservative media eager to read scripts generated by the White House.

Yes, that's the problem--the mighty Bush machine and Roger Ailes, in combination so powerful that Bush's approval numbers are now soaring into the mid-60s. ...

More important--because Dionne does acknowledge some deeper Dem problems--even if Kerry is history, a Quayle-like dead man walking, the conditions that led Democrats to delude themselves into thinking he was a plausible candidate are still in place and still a problem.

I'm talking about a) The dutiful, clueless susceptibility of liberalism's main organ, the New York Times, to the elite appeal of a manifest phony like Kerry; b) The cocooning echo chamber of wishful-thinking self-reinforcement that led so many Democratic opinion-shapers to actually believe everything Paul Krugman was writing about the economy, to believe in the primacy of the "wrong track" numbers--in short, that led even highly sophisticated MSM politicos (like those at the Note) to believe the spin that the underlying dynamics of the election were hostile to Bush, hence the race was "Kerry's contest to lose."c) The semi-conscious Emperor's-Clothes-like suspension of normal powers of judgment, lest you write or say something in public that might be seen as aiding Bush. ...

Without these blinders, the Liberal Media might have noticed the bad joke aspects of Kerry's candidacy and saved their party from a nominee who everyone now recognizes as fatally flawed. Is there any guarantee they won't make the same mistake again in 2008?

For example--specifically, examples of (b) and (c)--here are excerpts from E.J. Dionne's own writing in the run-up to the 2004 election:

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