Gulf War II will be remembered for many things, not the least of them being another American victory that left the world in awe, just as America's commanders predicted it would. It will also be remembered as having triggered another exercise in left-wing press agitation, with media armchair generalissimos making fools of themselves with one ridiculous pronouncement after another.
The media's opposition to the war began long before the first cruise missile entered Saddam's window in Baghdad. For weeks on end, with evident and growing enthusiasm, the press played up the anti-war protests around the country. In one 12-hour period, CNN ran no less than 38 different news reports on protests. Everywhere you turned, the media were promoting an apple pie "feel" of these demonstrations. As MSNBC's Jeannie Ohm reported back in January, "A growing number of people are speaking out against war with Iraq: students, grandparents, businessmen, politicians, teachers, actors and activists, standing shoulder to shoulder in protest." By the March 3 issue of Newsweek, the anti-war crowd had earned great new respectability with the magazine's "Conventional Wisdom" box: "Old CW: Unpatriotic '60s leftover fringe. New: Not-so-silent minority is respectable, and growing fast."
"Growing fast"? In January, President George Bush's approval rating was 59 percent; by war's end the "growing" anti-war movement had lowered him to 73 percent. On Jan. 23, support for the war stood at 52 percent; exactly two months later the "growing" anti-war movement reduced support to 72 percent.
Typical of the media protest hype was this statement from ABC correspondent Chris Cuomo on March 22: "(Protesters) want government accountability, they want environmental justice" -- and what in the world does that have to do with a war on terror, anyway? -- "and most of all, they're calling for peace … In American history, protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood." Oops.
The worldview of the protest movement, which sees the United States and the president as reckless, if not diabolically evil, regularly peppered the comments and questions of some top journalists. No matter what Bush did, he was wrong.
On March 21, ABC White House reporter Terry Moran damned the president for the civilian deaths caused by the bombing in Iraq. This was his outrageous "question," posed to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer: "Have you heard (Bush) talk about the other responsibility which may weigh on him heavily today, and that is the death of innocents, for Iraqi moms and dads and children who may, despite our best efforts, be killed?"