It was inevitable, but sure enough, as the sun comes up every morning, the mainstream media changed gears and ran defense for the Biden administration's poorly executed withdrawal from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country.
Every day, another horror story comes out of an American trying to get to Hamid Karzai International Airport in order to be evacuated but is unable to, mostly due to the Taliban preventing people from reaching the inside of the airport.
An American woman is stranded in Kabul, all alone.— Matthew Downer (@mpdowner) August 23, 2021
When she tried to get to the airport, the Taliban beat her for the crime of traveling without a male escort.
She has heard nothing from the State Department—only from free lance volunteers a world away.
It's not hard to find those praising the Biden administration's efforts in Afghanistan because White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain has been busy on Twitter retweeting all the praise he can find, which is scant. It has reached the point where Klain has retweeted Washington Post liberal blogger Jennifer Rubin.
The media have parroted the right wing’s deliberate effort to impugn the administration’s motives about “abandoning Afghans” (as it airlifts tens of thousands of them out the country) while ignoring the Trump team’s destruction of the visa system. https://t.co/dHgi7W8kv1— Jennifer 'pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) August 23, 2021
I feel like the initial coverage of BIDEN'S WORLD HISTORIC INCOMPENTENCE may have missed some of the nuance of what's actually going on in Afghanistan. https://t.co/XJiy0hfqLp— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) August 23, 2021
This big, successful, nimble military operation is not getting the credit it deserves (while smaller, less successful ones that prolonged the war and helped lead us to this point received praise, apologias or no scrutiny at all). Why is that? https://t.co/s3Z5zD6Q0m— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 23, 2021
This is the best run evacuation from a war America lost.— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) August 24, 2021
Vietnam was much worse including the killing of American soldiers who were helping the evacuation and whose bodies were left behind in a Saigon hospital. https://t.co/3B1Trg20fo
Wow. Just a week and story may be dangerous efforts after war is lost contain both chaos and order, with operations that aren’t disclosed publicly, and pros can pivot in imperfect situations with a little time. Not one soldier lost to date. That is something. Really something. https://t.co/jcRrCJAFc4— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) August 23, 2021
One of the main talking points from Biden and his defenders has been the number of people the administration has been able to evacuate in the past week. "How can the evacuation be so terrible? Look how many people are getting out!" they say. While it is good that flights are coming and going, it is telling that the government can't give a hard number of how many of those are American, given that many who are leaving appear to be Afghan. While there is nothing wrong with helping out those who helped our troops during the war, the priority should be getting our people out of the country.
This isn't to say there has not been good fact-checking from other reporters. Many of those praising the Biden administration's objectively disastrous exit are people who are not on the ground in Kabul. What can be assured is no matter how hard Biden trips, sometimes literally, there will be those in the media who will stop at nothing to trip alongside him to make it look like nothing is wrong.