November Surprise: After Democrats Win, Media Question 'Cut-and-Run'
“But such pointed criticism of the winning party came too late. Why does that not surprise us?”
Here's an excerpt of the editorial in the November 20 issue, headlined: “Now They Tell Us.”
What a difference an Election Day makes. With the Democrats back in control of Congress, their friends in the news business apparently figure it's OK now to say things that might have helped the Republican cause before Nov. 7.
Wednesday, the New York Times ran a front-page story headlined, "Get out of Iraq Now? Not so Fast, Experts Say." As those words suggest, the article was a blast at Democrats such as Sen. Carl Levin, soon to be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who were urging a withdrawal of U.S. troops within four to six months.
The choice of "experts" quoted by reporter Michael Gordon was revealing; prominent among them were two leading critics of the Bush administration's handling of the war, Anthony Zinni and John Batiste. Like most articles labeled "analysis," this one had an editorial point to make: That the people now taking power in Congress have a poor plan — more like a recipe for disaster — to deal with the mess in Iraq.
A couple of days later, NBC fleshed out this warning with some harrowing footage and dire predictions on the "Today" show. According to the network's Middle East bureau chief, Richard Engel, "Iraqis overwhelmingly say" that a quick U.S. pullout "would push the country deeper into chaos," with an al-Qaida-run state one of the possible outcomes.
Given the New York Times' usual role as pack leader of the mainstream media, we can expect to see more such cautionary stories in the coming days....
Better late than never, we suppose. But the question remains: Why did they wait? Those "experts" now exposing the Democrats' exit strategy as a deadly fantasy were available to reporters before the election. A full airing of their views at that time might have helped voters make an informed choice. It might even have kept the GOP in charge of Congress. But such pointed criticism of the winning party came too late. Why does that not surprise us?