Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

AL-QAEDA 24/7....James Fallows, just now catching up on TV coverage of the Petraeus-Crocker testimony after a few days in deepest China, notes that on CNN "every reference to the adversary in Iraq is to 'al Qaeda.'" Michael Gordon talks about al-Qaeda, Michael Ware talks about al-Qaeda, and Anderson Cooper is a one-man al-Qaeda PR machine. Fallows wonders what's going on:

Jeez louise! Even Petraeus's own briefing slides, which I have just seen, refer to "AQI" — al Qaeda/Iraq, as distinguished from the actual al Qaeda that attacked the American mainland six years ago. Wasn't there a fair amount of fuss a few months ago about the Bush Administration's bait-and-switch trick in pushing the term "al Qaeda in Iraq" as a (bogus) way of stressing a link between Osama bin Laden and whoever is the enemy in Iraq? Why should CNN go along with this — and improve on it, by dropping the "in Iraq" part? Is it that anxious about shaking its "liberal" image? Just curious.

I'm curious too. Maybe none of these guys has read our October cover story.

Kevin Drum 6:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

and I just saw on CNN Barbara Starr, star pentagon stenographer, say that the pentagon has proof that Iran is arming the Taliban "to kill AMericans."

I guess her handlers neglected to tell her that the Taliban hate Shiites.

Also the graphic (not undertext, but a real graphic), said "Iran: Menace"

no shit.

Posted by: blatherskite on September 11, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is what is to be expected going forward. It is now a war against AQI and we are winning.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 11, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious too. Maybe none of these guys has read our October cover story. —Kevin Drum

Kevin made a funny!

Posted by: JeffII on September 11, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you missed excerpting the punch line: Is it that anxious about shaking its "liberal" image?

Yes, elections are coming.

Posted by: TJM on September 11, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is all of a piece with the way the news has changed in the past 20 years, isn't it? It's all about making the most sensationalistic claims to get attention-- "a common household item could kill you and your family without warning! We'll tell you which one after these messages"

"Al Qaeda" has great brand recognition. So news readers will say it. There isn't much more to it than that, and laziness, is there?

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on September 11, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. Now somebody needs to write a book called: "The Fear Profiteers"-The Mainstream Media in the Post 9/11 World.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 11, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Nah. I like "The Fear Peddlers" better. Fewer syllables.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 11, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I've spent the whole day staring out my window at the World Trade Center site. I've watched a constant stream of umbrellas covering family members patiently drifting down the ramp to stand and mourn, once again, at the spot where their loved ones died six long years ago. Right now the sad moaning skirl of a police bagpipe band is drifting up to me. I wish we'd done more for those poor souls' memory. I wish we'd been worthy of their sacrifice.

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kind of a downer, Kevin.

Posted by: Swan on September 11, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

yes cnn does hype

the hurricane news network is also the al queda news network and whatever theme works to catch viewers and get ratings and sell ads and make money

remember the iraq invasion

remember how the cnn and other tv newsies went to boot camp and then were embedded in units to provide hurricane-like coverage of the invasion

do you expect something different?

Posted by: jamzo on September 11, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

remember the iraq invasion

Hell, remember when we went into Afghanistan? CNN's tag line for everything was 'America's New War,' complete with peppy theme music!

That's when I first truly grew to hate CNN, and my hated has only grown since then.

Posted by: Stranger on September 11, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

CNN with Wolf Blitzer is allowing administration mouthpiece Frances Townsend to say the most inflammatory statements and again going over the "bin Ladin is impotent" routine which is neither wise nor helpful.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 11, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

CNN with Wolf Blitzer is allowing administration mouthpiece Frances Townsend to say the most inflammatory statements ...

Posted by: consider wisely always

Going forward, competition among the MSM outlets will take the form of who can get their tongue farther up Bush's ass the soonest.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 11, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Quite obviously, even though the Bush administration has our country careening off the world's guardrails, it has yet to hit the rock wall at the end of that cul-de-sac called the Persian Gulf, a prospect we must now anticipate with equal parts intellectual facination and mortal dread.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 11, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why should CNN go along with this?,/i>

Oh Jeebus - Murdock - you think?

And what's this about "shaking it's liberal image" - what liberal image would that be??? Just because Murdocks says CNN is liberal merely because Murdock's opens his partisan mouth DOES NOT make CNN liberal - CNN is just another name for FOX news - IT WAS NEVER that so-called "liberal" news.

It's not liberal and its also no real news.

Murdock is like DIEBOLD, he is committed to putting lipstick on Bushies - and Murdock is nothing but a wealthy Bushie kiss-ass.

CNN is rag outlet - at least since Murdock got a hold of it - it's never been anything else but complete crapshoot.

AND NOW - It's just a hop, skip and a jump till the WSJ is exactly the same kind of one sided BS.

If Murdock does it to CNN - and he does - WSJ ain't got a pray.

Posted by: Me_again on September 11, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

We are a nation of ignorance addicts. We just don't want to know. It makes me cringe.

Posted by: exclab on September 11, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why should CNN go along with this — and improve on it, by dropping the "in Iraq" part? Is it that anxious about shaking its "liberal" image? Just curious.

Every hairdo at the big three, or at CNN/MSNBC/CNBC/FOX, dreads the day when the news becomes, as it is in every non-deranged, well-ordered, normal country, an endless series of stories about the latest Commerce Dep't appropriations bill, droughts in the Midwest, special Congressional election in California 14, etc. etc.

Try turning that into a house in the Hamptons. No shit blowing up, no fear-fear-fear. No kettledrums, and snappy themed F/X. Downer, man. You'd need, like, a presidential hummer to rescue that lineup.

I mean, who's the most famous news anchor in Belgium? Or Canada, or New Zealand?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 11, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, that combined with the elevation of America's General (TM) to a type of Delphic sainthood ensures that at least 500 more Ammericans will needlessly die.

Good god, I need to get back to my shrink and get back on Cymbalta - or tequila.

Posted by: Keith G on September 11, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

This kind of crap is why Kevin was right and Matt Y. was wrong in their takes on who "won" the Petraeus Show.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Good god, I need to get back to my shrink and get back on Cymbalta

I never really got that drug name. It puts me in mind of a percussionist standing right behinnd me, not exactly a relaxing prospect.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is so pathetic. And what is even more pathetic and exasperating is that Democrats do not have an articulate spokesperson to rebut these idiotic assertions. Of course, they don't have a forum like Fox News to broadcast it either, but we do not have one single progressive who has the balls or articulation to stand up and say, "You are full of shit. There is no al-Qaeda in Iraq, except a few hundred flea-bitten wannabes. Osama bin Laden and what is left of the real al-Qaeda is in Pakistan. WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING IN IRAQ???"

This country is truly fucked.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 11, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

On Countdown tonight, Keith Olberman interviewed Tom Brokaw re 9/11 and Iraq. What a milk toast idiot Brokaw is. He kept talking about fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and Olberman didn't correct him, although Olberman's well aware of the inaccuracy.
Come to think of it, time to write Keith an e-mail.

Posted by: nepeta on September 11, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Every hairdo at the big three, or at CNN/MSNBC/CNBC/FOX, dreads the day when the news becomes, as it is in every non-deranged, well-ordered, normal country, an endless series of stories about the latest Commerce Dep't appropriations bill, droughts in the Midwest, special Congressional election in California 14, etc. etc. Try turning that into a house in the Hamptons. No shit blowing up, no fear-fear-fear. No kettledrums, and snappy themed F/X. Downer, man. You'd need, like, a presidential hummer to rescue that lineup. I mean, who's the most famous news anchor in Belgium? Or Canada, or New Zealand?

I notice this every time I go abroad (hell, even on short hops to Canada) and watch the news. It's like they're reporting from an alternate reality, a reality not inhabited by deranged screaming harpies.

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

It puts me in mind of a percussionist standing right behind me,

Did you mean a percussionist from the Estonian Philharmonic?

Posted by: Keith G on September 11, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Did you mean a percussionist from the Estonian Philharmonic?

OWWWWWW! Damn, I gotta give you full props for that through my groans.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Next up... The Terror Hucksters: How a lethal brew of bafflegab and fear could poison your politics and destroy your constitution... but first, let's check in on the weather with Charlie.

H/T: Elvis Elvisberg & Doc at the Radar Station

Posted by: floppin' pauper on September 11, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

I mean, who's the most famous news anchor in Belgium? Or Canada, or New Zealand?

In Canada? That would be this guy.

Posted by: floppin' pauper on September 11, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

CNN employs Glenn Beck. Nuff said.

I'm not surprised when CNN or Fox News spits out GOP talking points. The only difference between the two stations is that people watch Fox News.

Posted by: reino on September 11, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

What about AQC (Al Qaeda California)? There sure are a lot of hate-America atheist libs out here who want to become Islamic fundamentalists and destroy our freedoms.

First they'll make all the women appear in porno films, then they'll force them to wear the burqa. They'll make everyone become homosexual suicide bombers and then get married and mutilate their genitals.

Stop laughing, this is serious! Osama will be sitting in the White House unless we raise a 50 million man army and occupy the entire world now!

Posted by: Wacko on September 11, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

First they'll make all the women appear in porno films, then they'll force them to wear the burqa

You think you're just joshin' around, but 15-20 percent of the men reading this are now thinking about a porno film involving burquas and getting wildly turned on.

Wait, I might be a few dozen percentage points low on that.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK
The only difference between the two stations is that people watch Fox News.

Last I saw stats (which was probably a year or two ago, back before CNN was as completely dead to me as it is now) a substantially greater number of people watched CNN than watched Fox, though Fox had better ratings because people that watched Fox tended to watch lots of it.

Of course, the longer you keep the eyeballs stuck, the more valuable advertising is, so CNN was (and had been for some time before those stats) desperately trying to imitate Fox's right-wing slant in the hopes of duplicating its ratings (which is why CNN is now virtually completely dead to me.)

Posted by: cmdicely on September 11, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, cmdicely--You taught me something.

Posted by: reino on September 12, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Both CNN and the Washington Post gone seriously downhill over the past few years. Whereas both could once be counted upon to provide truly neutral news coverage, nowadays both are just as crappy as every other news outlet.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 12, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

I keep watching all this garbage, and I think to myself at how stupid it all is, at how these people are so fucking stupid, this CAN'T possibly be real. These people can't really be that stupid, can they?

Then it hits me.

It's not real.

Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 12, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

.Stop laughing, this is serious! Osama will be sitting in the White House unless ...
Posted by: Wacko on September 11, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes, but tell us about the gay sex he will have with the intern. Or is it the reporter with the fake name, and the white-house day passes, and who apparently didn't sign out on several overnighters? And since Osama apparently colors his beard now, does that mean he's a "bear"?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 12, 2007 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

I have not read all the comments. If I am stepping on someone else's observation, I apologize.

Here is my theory. If every person who attacks American troops is, by definition, al Qaeda, then we are, and always have been, fighting al Qaeda. It becomes the perfect ex post facto justification for the invasion in the first place. Now we have no choice but to continue the struggle. In Iraq.

Hey, it might not convince Kevin's readers, but it should pass muster with the lizard brain Republican Party base.

Posted by: daveb99 on September 12, 2007 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

15-20 percent of the men reading this are now thinking about a porno film involving burquas and getting wildly turned on.

Mmmmmmmmm...burquas.

Posted by: ckelly on September 12, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Even the self esteemed Tom Brokaw made the same mistake on Olbermann - Talked of al-Quada's involvment in 9/11 and then said al-Quada in Iraq. Of course, the oh so "brilliant" one equated the Saudi fly boys of 9/11 as innocent civilians and equated them with loss of innocent civilians in the towers - Of course, he also bashed the Democrats for being confrontational with the Shrubian administration - One of those, "Oh, I blame both sides for the partisan fighting".

Another who reveres the "greatest" generation, but, who never felt the need to serve himself.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 12, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I beat you to it by 13 hours. Ah well, such is the "bubble reputation".

Posted by: James Wimberley on September 12, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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