Ross Mackenzie

Answer: Sam Johnson; 29 years in the Air Force - seven of them as a POW in Hanoi.

Question: Who gave the most powerful speech in the House of Representatives during a raucous Nov. 18 debate culminating in a 403-3 vote against pulling troops out of Iraq?

Answer: Texas (3rd District); Republican. Indeed, former speaker of the Texas House.

Question: What are Johnson's state and party?

Answer: That's the whole point.

Question: Why have so few heard of Johnson? Why has he received so little exposure?

Answer: Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania (12th District); 37 years in the Marines - including two tours in Vietnam.

Question: Who is the Congressman who got so much exposure with a proposal to start pulling American troops out of Iraq?

Answer: Thank you. You've asked the ultimate question.

Question: Why did Murtha receive so much exposure, and Johnson so little?

XXX

We have at hand yet another example of selective coverage. Murtha was a Page One poster boy for close to a week. Johnson remains practically unheard of. What goes similarly unreferenced is this: Murtha voted with the majority (not in the three-vote minority) on the House pull out resolution.

Some related queries:

Why the plaudits for minority pols as long as they are Democrats (Illinois Senator Barack Obama and all the members of the Congressional Black Caucus) - but heaven help them if they are Republicans, such as Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele of Maryland, Congressman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, or former Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma?

Why are "moderates" so often described in terms of how they deviate leftward from the accepted Republican line (Senators Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe), but not in terms of how they deviate rightward from the accepted Democratic line (Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut)? Are there no liberals among the Republicans but only conservatives and moderates, and no moderates among the Democrats - just liberals and conservatives?

XXX

Why is Sen. John McCain championed as the media's favorite Republican "maverick" when he deviates from Republican (or administration) orthodoxy, while his support for increasing U.S. forces in Iraq goes almost ignored?

Why, in coverage of calls for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, is the public rarely reminded that many of those so vociferous in their withdrawal demands now, in fact voted to remove Saddam Hussein and urged acting before he employed his weapons of mass destruction against the West and its allies?


Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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