If you've missed it, the death toll for US service members in Iraq has climbed. It is now 34 for the month and 3776 since the start of the illegal war. If you're confused, M-NF appears to be confused when it comes to making announcements.
And the press helps out a lot. Yesterday's robberies (two robberies, approximately $790,000 in US dollars) don't make a dent, the deaths don't make a dent. And the New York Times plays self-serving with statements from Gail Collins' replacement to E&P and an article today that are all meaningless when they refuse to cover the chaos and violence in Iraq. It's really cute how now, because two of the dead on Monday co-wrote an op-ed for the Times, they suddenly are interested in Monday's "vehicle accident" but they weren't interested in it Tuesday (when it should have been a big write up in the paper) and they really aren't interested in the fact that others died as well. The concern comes off less than sincere as a result and appears to be nothing more than an attempt to get the paper's name "out there."
Reuters reports that a Baghdad car bombing has claimed 5 lives (ten more injured), a police officer was shot dead in Mosul, a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer (two more injured) and a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life (three more wounded).
But there's an illegal war to be sold again. And tonight Ugly Bully follows Ugly Betty in primetime. It's so nice of the press to basically take the week off from Iraq (longer for some outlets) to allow Bully Boy's spin to have the best chance of success.
As Rebecca noted last night, Bully Boy's seen the closest thing to 'glowing' he ever will as the press taking a week or two off from actually doing their job has allowed him to climb slightly in some polls. CNN notes:
The president's approval rating in the survey was 36 percent -- unchanged from an August poll and barely above where it was in January.
At the same time, 61 percent of those polled disapprove of Bush's performance in office -- and the same number said they believe his policies are taking the country in the wrong direction.
The public sees the Iraq war as a failure and thinks the U.S. troop buildup there has not worked, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll suggesting the tough sell President Bush faces in asking Congress and voters for more time.
The pessimism expressed by most people -- including significant minorities of Republicans -- contrasted with the brighter picture offered by Gen. David Petraeus. The chief U.S. commander in Iraq is telling Congress this week that the added 30,000 troops have largely achieved their military goals and could probably leave by next summer, though he conceded there has been scant political progress.
And that's when the press decides the August vacation extends into September. We get valentines to Davey Petraeus that aren't that dissimilar from the ones to Colin Powell. Although they do appear to include the foreshadowing this time -- hinting at the tragedy that may await -- the destruction of one's reputation. Surely the greatest loss in DC.
The death and dying continues in Iraq even though it's been a week of Chat & Chews on air and in print -- as if Meet the Press had expanded the format to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The mini-culpas (I believe that's Amy Goodman's term, if not, it's kind-of-culpa, for the very late hand wringing of the mainstream press) never changed anything. Because the reality was a Judith Miller didn't trick her paper. All the outlets were happy to go with those stories.
That brief wave of mini-culpas didn't change a thing; however, it is interesting to note that it started with the Tonys. We won't backtrack in full for the uninformed. But let's note that, to this day, so many are unaware of what actually prompted the New York Times' mini-culpa. Someone boxes themselves in on Iraq, then wants to have some fun tearing into the Tonys, gets confronted on the violation of their own 'rule' and thus the hand wringing at the paper of no record is born. Somewhere in that story is both a one liner waiting to be shaped and a lesson to be learned because, in the face of criticism from media critics, the paper maintained a stony silence. What broke it was the Tonys. And one person to call out the hypocrisy and one person, when called out, to acknowledge it. That's what broke the silence at the paper.
We'll close with Nancy A. Youssef and Renee Schoof's "Troop levels in Iraq likely to remain above 130,000" (McClatchy Newspapers):
Military officials familiar with troop deployments told McClatchy Newspapers, however, that as many as 140,000 troops would remain in Iraq, depending on the size of the brigades and how many soldiers remain to support them.
American troop strength was well above 130,000 before the surge began on Feb. 15, according to officials. Pentagon officials couldn't say whether any military units that were scheduled to be deployed in the next few months have been told that they'll remain home because of Petraeus' proposal.
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