With the mainstream media's (MSM's) co-conspiratorial role in highlighting the bad news, suppressing the good news and repeating the Democrats' propaganda, it's no wonder a large chunk of the American people have bought into the Democrats' revisionist history of the Iraq War.
NBC's Tim Russert, who is far from the most administration-unfriendly member of the MSM, gave a seminar on liberal media bias with his interview of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday on "Meet the Press."
Russert said that when the war began in March 2003, 70 percent of the public approved of how President Bush was handling the war, but now only 32 percent approve. "What happened?" asked Russert.
When Dr. Rice responded that it is discouraging for Americans to see violence on their TV screens day in and day out, but harder to see the "quiet progress on the political front," Russert wasn't satisfied. He then launched into the Democrats' talking points.
"But it's more than just seeing violence on the screen," said Russert. Would you not agree … that Americans… have seen some misjudgments: no weapons of mass destruction, a misreading of the level, intensity of the insurrection, whether we'd be greeted as liberators, sectarian violence, cost of the war?
Russert also quoted, approvingly, from the British magazine "The Economist," which wrote, "Mr. Bush … oversold the pre-war intelligence on Iraq … [and] betrayed America's own principles in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib."
Russert clearly wasn't just playing the devil's advocate. He didn't present these charges against Bush as debatable perceptions, or opinions, but objective facts, the most egregious being that Bush oversold the case for WMD.
Russert did not say, "I realize that all the foreign intelligence agencies for all other major countries unanimously agreed with our assessment of Iraqi WMD, that the CIA told President Bush that the WMD case against Saddam was "a slam dunk," that bipartisan investigative commissions concluded that President Bush had not pressured the intelligence agencies to exaggerate their intelligence, that Saddam was violating the Gulf War treaties and U.N. resolutions, that Saddam was shooting at our planes in the no-fly zones, that Saddam was openly defying U.N. weapons inspectors and that he was behaving as though he had something to hide."
Nor did Russert allude to the fact that Saddam had WMD, used them on his own people and agreed, after the first Gulf War, not only to discontinue his WMD program and destroy his existing stockpiles, but to prove to the United States and its allies that he had done so. Instead, he submitted a bogus 12,000-page document full of lies.
In addition, Russert most conspicuously did not share the fact that scores of Democratic leaders, beginning with Bill Clinton, spoke very clearly and often about the unambiguous existence of Saddam's WMD and that they supported a policy to seek a change of his regime.
Russert did not mention that these Democrats, having access to the very same intelligence as President Bush, voted to authorize him to militarily attack Iraq. Russert also failed to note that this congressional war resolution contained multiple reasons for going to war against Iraq -- not just WMD -- and that despite John Kerry's later lies to the contrary, was not conditional on President Bush further exhausting diplomatic avenues or even more weapons inspections.
And in mentioning the "costs of the war" as one of Bush's "misjudgments," Russert also conveniently omitted the fact that from early on, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld steadfastly refused to be pinned down on the projected "costs of the war" because they were "unknowable."
Also interesting was Russert's water-carrying for the Democrats on the Iran issue, as when he asked whether we'd have an easier time dealing with Iran if "we did not have the complication of Iraq." In other words, doesn't the "fact" that Bush lied on Iraq WMD mean that no one will believe him on Iran WMD?
A better question would have been, "Knowing what we now know about how Democrats retrospectively distorted the circumstances leading up to the Iraq War, especially portraying Bush as having lied about WMD, and knowing their fair weather support for our mission in Iraq and how they soured the public on it, wouldn't it be very difficult to get the public to support an attack of Iran's suspected nuclear facilities?"
Russert also mouthed the Democrats' talking point that the Guantanamo prison is "wrong" and giving "America a black eye around the world." Dr. Rice correctly responded that we can't release known terrorists who will just "go back to killing Americans." Maybe it's just me, but I would think this last one would be a no-brainer, even for liberals.
With media megaphones like Russert it's amazing Bush has any support left for the war at all.