'Morning Joe': Yeah-Butting The Good News From Iraq

David Shuster and Mika Brzezinski demonstrated on today's "Morning Joe" that there's no good-news Iraqi lemon they can't press into bad-news lemonade.

View video here.

Thanksgiving is a time for reconciliation, so let's show some sympathy for our liberal media friends. It's been a tough 24 hours for them. Yesterday, articles appeared in the New York Times and LA Times reporting the dramatically improved security situation in Iraq.

Today brings another blow, as Thomas Friedman suggests that beyond the military successes, there might be an informal kind of political accommodation going on in Iraq that he refers to as an "ATM peace." That would be a real setback for the MSM, given its fall-back position that "there might be military progress but there's been no improvement on the political front."

But the MSM are a resilient bunch, and we're already seeing the outlines of its plan to deal with the current unpleasantness. Call it "yeah-butting."

First, Scott McClellan's excerpt from a book months away from publication is manna for an MSM starving for bad news. We'll see how much mileage the "Bush lied, people died" crowd can wring from it.

The Morning Joe panel engaged in a discussion today with MSNBC military analyst Jack Jacobs. The Medal of Honor recipient is anything but a Bush administration fan. But he also recognized the progress on the ground.

WILLIE GEIST [sitting in for host Joe Scarborough]: We're hearing at least anecdotally in the New York Times that people are going back to their homes in Baghdad, that it's getting safer. We're also seeing some statistics that say violence is down. Do you believe it?

JACK JACOBS: Oh yeah. There are a couple of places where things are much, much better. Anbar Province is one of them, which used to be the most dangerous place on the face of the earth, and is now extremely quiet. I thought it would take a lot longer to get Baghdad up to speed, but they're many neighborhoods in Baghdad that are very quiet too.
Shuster took the first shot.
DAVID SHUSTER: Jack, a lot of people are taking credit for the drop in violence. How much of it is due to the surge, and how much of it is due, for example in Anbar, to American forces making deals with former enemies, with tribal leaders who are responsible for killing Americans, but making deals with them and saying "OK, knock it off and we'll stop attacking you"?
Shuster seemed to be suggesting that this was an unfair way of winning. Does he demand bloodshed on both sides? Isn't another word for what he was describing something the MSM always preaches . . . diplomacy?

Jacobs wouldn't bail him out.
JACOBS: It's hard to say what percentage contributes to what, but it's all contributory to the reduction in violence.

Thanks for nuthin', Jack.

Later, it was Mika's turn. Finding the current good news unappealing, Brzezinksi firmly affixed the rear-view mirrors.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Two issues and two questions come out of this in retrospect. Number one, whether or not the precept for going to war was accurate and correct, and then number two, how it was executed.

This time, Jacobs was happy to oblige.

JACOBS: The precept and the context for going to war were completely fallacious . . . In terms of the execution, you're absolutely, positively correct. The execution was hideous.

For Mika, shades of Casablanca: "we'll always have no WMDs."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.