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Monday, May 7, 2007

On the War: The Media Rewards Its Hawks

posted by on May 7 at 8:01 AM

Radar (?) did an interesting exercise. They looked at eight media pundits: Four who had hard-ons for the war in the run-up to shock and awe and four who stumped against it. Then they ask: Where are these pundits today?

The answer: the pro-war pundits, like David Brooks (who they also slyly note, once wrote a loud column on the importance of meritocracy), are media darlings, while the dissenters, like Robert Scheer, are currently as successful as, well, Radar magazine.

The piece is much stronger at documenting and criticizing the fact that the hawks have risen to the top than making the case that the antis became losers, but it’s worth checking out.

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Loser schmoozer! I think we can credit Beck for bringing that into the vernacular, maybe not, but let's draw the line in the sand somewhere. Thing is, back in the day, unaware of Beck and Loser, and I was hitchiking to cap hill in the wee hours on University bridge. An aging street punk gave me a lift who was delivering newspapers. he went on and on about beck while playing me the first album, Bong Hit Summer, no, Mellow Gold. Some freaky shit. Ever since, I go with street sense for my media.

Posted by almost rhymes with hummer | May 7, 2007 8:34 AM

Fuck me, Stereopathetic Soulmanure was the album, tits. Can you post some mp3's, i'm a little short on cash.

Posted by almost rhymes with hummer | May 7, 2007 9:07 AM

thanks Josh, most depressing. so it goes.

Posted by sherwin | May 7, 2007 9:14 AM

your editor had a hard on for the war. hopefully you didnt give him a pass at your editorial meetings.

so, you two were opposite. where are youse now?

Posted by SeMe | May 7, 2007 9:19 AM

Dammit, SeMe. You beat me to the Dan Savage thing. Dan must be offended he's not considered as successful as those other guys.

What's really scary is reading about Tom Friedman, who happens to be one of my favorite columnists. I mean, he came up with reason after reason to oppose the war, and yet he still supported it -- and seemingly for much the same motivations that a consumer buys one car and not another or one soda and not another. Here's an otherwise wise and fairly nonpartisan/impartial commentator who can see the big picture, he completely gets all the rational arguments against war, and yet he still succumbs to the emotional appeal. Now that makes me sick in the stomach.

And this just makes you appreciate Al Gore all the more. Gore opposed the war from the get-go, and not as a pacifist but for hawkish national security grounds. Gore got everything Friedman got and more, he was absolutely prescient about the hornet's nest we would stir up, and, most important, he let reason win over emotion and courage win over expediency. Here's Gore's anti-war speech:

Posted by cressona | May 7, 2007 9:33 AM

SeMe @ 4,

Our loud arguments at the time repeatedly drove our colleagues away from Friday after-work drinks at Bill's and added tension to editorial meetings.

We ended up doing an Anti-war/Pro-war face off in the paper. I wrote 3000 words against the war. Dan wrote a 900-word sidebar for the war. His got way more attention.

I don't know what Dan's current position on the war is. Troops out now?

I don't have much of a definitive position myself. (I still kind of like Biden's partition idea. And I think propping up bona fide Iraqi contractors and business interests would go a long way.) Ultimately, though, I think the U.S. needs to figure out how to get out of Iraq—and get back to hunting al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Going into Iraq was the moronic and tragic. I certainly stand by that.

Posted by Josh Feit | May 7, 2007 9:43 AM

The failures in Afghanistan are overshadowed by the disaster in Iraq. Going into A-stan was a mistake and opened the door for the Iraqi war. When we finally leave Iraq (bona fide contractors?) the folly in Afghanistan will become clear.

Posted by sherwin | May 7, 2007 10:45 AM

Pundits, writers and talking heads who supported the war lost a lot--though I hastily admit it's sort of empty to compare such suffering to that of military personnel, Iraqis and their families.

"Successful" is way too loose a term here; these are people who either know the damage done to their reputations, or are in increasingly frantic denial about it.

Probably that's why I clutch onto voices like Josh Feit with all my might. Josh takes hits for being skeptical--but that's what the job is supposed to be.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | May 7, 2007 11:59 AM

Take hits? That 'writer' couldn't take a hit as a punching bag at 3rd grade level Dojo orientation.

And where was your fancy verbiage while I replaced my sister's CLUTCH in a Poulsbo hale storm last month. C'mon Boomer (it's pronounced Boomer), muster up some of your own skepticism for me.

Posted by almost rhymes with hummer | May 7, 2007 12:17 PM


Posted by Boomer in NYC | May 7, 2007 12:33 PM


Posted by Bill | May 12, 2007 6:49 PM


Posted by Bill | May 12, 2007 6:50 PM

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