Monday, June 09, 2008

No controversy?

One of the typical cover-our-ass techniques used by journalists to excuse their failure to test the assertions of the Bush administration in the lead up to war is for them to say, "We in the press tend to cover disputes, and so if Democratic senators had stood up to criticize these policies, we would have done our job better." (actual quote from Nick Kristof).

Putting aside the absurdity of journalists saying that they only go where the news already is, Paul Krugman makes the obvious counter-point:
... I’d like to question the premise. A majority of Democrats in the House voted against the authorization of force. It’s true that only 21 Democratic Senators voted against, but here’s a list of the “no” voters:

Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR).

This doesn’t sound like an obscure group of backbenchers to me.

Nor to the rest of us Paul. There was plenty of controversy to cover in those months. But what little coverage it did receive were one day stories that were just more examples of journalists ass-covering. Even when they pressed Bush and company on this the best they got was "we don't listen to focus groups". Followed by no followups.

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