Young students in journalism school ought to be taught that "by their stories, you shall know them." The media reveal their opinions about the world not only in their endless pontificating verbiage, but in the topics they choose. The "news" becomes whatever floats their boat, whatever they urgently want the people to know.
It's no surprise that one thing the Left wants the people to believe is that the people who took the country to war in Iraq are not only foolishly hawkish, but tactically incompetent. Just because the people heard this ad nauseam and re-elected Team Bush anyway doesn't mean the Left will stop. Now it will no longer be Kerry and the DNC leading the charge. It will be the press.
Take the latest example. At a "town meeting" with American troops in Kuwait, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was confronted by a soldier asking why he and his buddies had to dig through landfills to find armor for their vehicles in Iraq. Oh, how the media adored this story -- Rummy Flummoxed by Grunt at the Front! -- and they all led the nightly news and front pages with it.
But how newsworthy was it? When CNN Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre was asked about it, he replied: "This issue has been around a long time. Lots of stories have been written about it. Congress has been asking questions. Stories have been written." McIntyre could have added that John Kerry slammed the Bush administration over Iraq in nearly every speech. What makes this otherwise been-there-done-that story new? McIntyre explained it was just the "who" and the "where," the identity and location of the questioner, a soldier confronting the boss in the theater of combat.
Then, within hours, it was revealed that Rumsfeld had been pranked by -- surprise! -- a reporter. The soldier was actually serving as a ventriloquist dummy for Edward Lee Pitts, a reporter with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, who filed his "story" without telling his readers about his own role in manipulating this "gotcha" gag on Rumsfeld.
But Pitts couldn't hold back with his own editors, sending an e-mail bragging of his exploits:
I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd ? The great part was that after the event was over the throng of national media following Rumsfeld -- The New York Times, AP, all the major networks -- swarmed to the two soldiers I brought from the unit I am embedded with.