Thursday, March 04, 2004

Never Apologize, Never Explain

Eric Alterman takes note of Mooney's piece (post below) with a fine one of his own summarizing Mooney's reporting of irrationality and hubris on the editorial page: would think those honest analysts who placed their faith in the administration's arguments for war and its ability to carry out a successful plan for Iraqi reconstruction would rethink that support as a result. This would be particularly true, one would imagine, for the editorial voices of America's major newspapers, whose roles in their respective communities -to say nothing of their charges under the First Amendment-depend on their established record for honesty and clear-sightedness. Alas, based on a thorough examination of the arguments of the editorial pages of four major U.S. newspapers by the journalist Chris Mooney in the new issue of Columbia Journalism Review, those newspapers that supported the Bush administration not only failed their readers during the run-up to the war; they have failed them ever since it ended as well.
...During the debate over the war, the [Washington Post] adopted the McCarthyite tactic-much in favor at the Journal as well-of accusing those who thought Bush's war plans [were unwise] to be "standing with Saddam."
We got a bit of that here at home too.

As for editorials closer to home, I'm still waiting to hear from The Union publisher Jeff Ackerman (for unknown reasons, could be email delivery failure due to Netsky B virus attack timing) answering my questions; editor Richard Somerville has responded with the succinct statement "The editorial speaks for itself".

I could use some help on the translation though, preferably into this language ("Imagine how different politics would be if debates were conducted in Tariana, an Amazonian language in which it is a grammatical error to report something without saying how you found it out") - which shares much with science language (with footnotes) and weblog language (with links). Not, alas, with newspaper editorial language.

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