CBS gave the letter from Aznar & Co. a sentence or two, and then devoted a whole story to Nelson Mandela, puffed as a Nobel laureate and "one of the world's most respected elder statesmen," viciously attacking Bush as "a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."
But as America awoke on Monday morning, March 15, to the news of the Aznar party's defeat, the networks were again highlighting the most anti-Bush angle. NBC's "Today" found a "huge" upset, a "huge loss" for Aznar, a "blow to the U.S. and to President Bush." ABC wondered: "Is support for the U.S. occupation in Iraq dwindling among our allies in Europe?" Watching ABC, I thought we didn't have any allies in Europe supporting us in Iraq. Peter Jennings specialized in implying that the United States was "going it alone" in Iraq.
Over at CBS, "The Early Show" announced it first and foremost as "bad news for the administration." Spain was an "important if symbolic" coalition member, and its military withdrawal "will not have a large impact on operations, but it will make a large dent in the appearance of a cohesive coalition."
How can the potential loss of Spain as an ally make a "large" public relations dent when their appearance in the coalition has almost never been recognized the TV news elite? That doesn't make any sense. But if you're the media, you can make them up as you go along. Whatever helps the Left is the standard.
During Republican administrations, the American media approaches Europe eager for an oh-so-sophisticated smashing of conservative foreign policy. Europe is only newsworthy when it dissents from the American line, and never mind how history turns out. In the 1980s, U.S. reporters lapped up every morsel of anti-American sentiment as Ronald Reagan planned to put Pershing missiles in Western Europe. The media's favorite Europeans thought the Soviet Union would stand for a thousand years, and only a bellicose nitwit would challenge them. Now we have another Reaganesque figure, and his Evil Empire has already been deposed. But the European left are offered offer the last word.
The incoming Socialist leader of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, sounded like an Iberian Dennis Kucinich, dismissing the liberation of Iraq as a "disaster" that had led to "nothing but hate and unrest." Journalists like to think they are the idealists. All they're channeling with the Zapatero line is strategic apathy and historical ignorance.