How can media stars like Russert not understand how partisan they sound at a moment like this? Eliminating Zarqawi was not just a victory for President Bush, but a victory for America, and for Iraq. But Russert proclaimed the White House would talk of a "turning point," and "that's what people are hopeful for this morning in the administration." But wait, doesn't all of America, not just the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, want a turning point toward victory in Iraq, for stability and democracy and an end to the terrorist insurgency? Who's rooting for chaos and a terrorist victory?
After Mary Mapes and Bush-loathing CBS first broke the Abu Ghraib story, the coverage was endless, with hundreds of stories, for months, focused on American offenders and their offenses. But the brave and talented Special Forces that tracked down Zarqawi in his "safe house" will never be famous. The same media now can't stand the idea of giving them a piddling fraction of the time they spent on outrageous dog handlers and naked-pyramid-builders, who were the emblematic American soldiers in Iraq, if you believe our partisan national press.
In the last few weeks, we've seen the same ravenous media hunger for the worst news about our troops in the ongoing investigation into a possible Marine killing of civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha. The story of a Pentagon probe broke in March, but NBC began a feeding frenzy on May 17, when anchor Brian Williams breathlessly declared anti-war Congressman John Murtha was "in the news again, and in a big way, accusing U.S. Marines of killing innocent civilians in cold blood." Since that day, The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes found, the networks have aired 99 stories or segments on ABC, CBS, and NBC suggesting U.S. military misconduct -- three and a half hours of coverage in three weeks.
Now put that in perspective. The same three networks have provided -- ready for this? -- just 52 minutes to the heroic deeds of the 20 members of the U.S. military who have received the highest recognition for bravery in combat since the war on terror began -- over almost five years. In fact, 14 of the country's top 20 medal recipients have gone unmentioned by ABC, CBS, and NBC.
Honk if you rejoice at the elimination of Zarqawi. And blow up your TV.