Sentiment about the war, the economy and the stock market has swung from euphoria to pessimism in only a few days. But Peter Arnett -- and maybe Geraldo, too -- signal a turn for the better. With both reporters rightly getting busted in Iraq, the media disinformation peak -- in economist terms -- has hit a market bottom.
For almost two weeks now, many in the media have spread a message of defeat. The daily drumbeat on the front pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times, picked up by some of the major networks each night, would have us believe that we are losing the war.
It's a Vietnam quagmire, we are told. We don't have enough troops. We're taking too many risks.
The only major group embedded in a Vietnam-like quagmire is the Democratic Party. Republicans and independents are running upward of 70 percent to 80 percent in support of Bush, Rumsfeld & Co. Three-quarters of voting Americans are behind the war.
So, consider this Arnett/Geraldo moment the turning point -- but not exactly the one they intended. These two will represent the media's high tide of disinformation -- which, when history writes it, won't look like much of a tide at all. While the barrages of disinformation will continue, responsible and accurate journalism will carry the day.
To begin, The Wall Street Journal's editorial writers are getting it right. Donald Rumsfeld, they report, inherited the Clinton defense budget, which was slashed to the bone. His resources were scarce, while the military grandees from Gulf War I inherited the Reagan inventory and its massive Cold War buildup of resources.
Fox and MSNBC are providing good war coverage, too. Their reporting is fair and balanced, and, most important, truthful. The same can be said for Rowan Scarborough and Bill Gertz of The Washington Times -- and, usually, John Burns of the New York Times.
The coverage in the New York Post has been excellent. Paula Zahn on CNN has been fair. The Washington Post editorial page has been strong. And don't forget Kudlow & Cramer -- holding the fort for wartime patriotism and tax cuts.
In only the last few days, field report after field report has been positive. A pause, the pundits say? Let's study this pause:
On Tuesday, a full-armored brigade division of the Republican Guard was destroyed as it made its way south from Tikrit to Baghdad. Two Iraqi guard units, after days of air and ground attacks by coalition forces, were declared at less than half-strength by Air Force Gen. Richard Myers.
A legion of maniacal homicide bombers waiting in the wings? More hits from Saddam's Fedayeen Gestapo? These are wartime gnats biting on the elephant's rear.