Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who was commander of coalition forces in Iraq for one year until 2004, made headlines in recent days with his sharp critique of the Bush administration's "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan" and "unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership."
What barely got reported, however, were the general's choice words for members of the press, particularly the "snippets" coverage of the Iraqi war by often-"biased" TV news networks.
"The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parent organizations, who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas," Gen. Sanchez charged in his luncheon remarks Friday to reporters and editors who cover the U.S. military. "What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war.
"My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the Web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little or no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agenda."
Gen. Sanchez said one highly respected reporter once confided in him that "there are some amongst you who 'feed from a pig's trough.' If that is who I am dealing with, then I will never respond; otherwise, we will both get dirty and the pig will love it. This does not mean that your story is accurate."
What do former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York have in common?
Very little, although both outspoken politicians, and numerous other Washington politicos, are scheduled to appear at the Hill's sixth annual Political Book Fair at the Trover Shop on Capitol Hill today, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Here's a partial list of participating authors and titles:
Mr. Rangel: "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress"
Mr. DeLay: "No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight"
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe: "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals"
Political commentator Christopher Hitchens: "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"
Republican activist Bay Buchanan: "The Extreme Makeover of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton"
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
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