The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, November 21, 2005

MSM makes things easy for GOP on Rep. Murtha

Media Matters makes an interesting point on the coverage of last week's statements by Pennsylvanian Democrat Jim Murtha's statement that the troops in Iraq should be brought home. House Republicans tried to spin it as proof that Democrats are soft, cowardly, and 'defeatist.' In other words, un-American.

Democrats did a good job of calling the GOP on their bullshit and defusing the situation. However, as the story is reported this week, the mainstream press has managed to create a right-wing talking point without any prompting from the reactionary pundits or the White House.

In a word, "pro-military." It might stink of the dreaded liberal 'nuance' that we're so often decried for, but Media Matters hits the nail on the head by pointing out that the implication is, in fact, that other Democrats are "anti-military." It drips with irony, considering that the Dems have been fighting tooth and nail for legislation that will ensure veterans' benefits even as Republicans have tried to cut their pay and health care.

It's one thing for the press to mindlessly parrot right-wing spin, but this is a glaring example of the press doing the Republicans' work for them.

Since the November 17 call by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) to end the U.S. military deployment in Iraq, several news outlets -- including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News -- have continued to identify him as "pro-military." By labeling him in this way, the media are suggesting a contrast with other Democrats, many of whom voted against the Iraq war resolution but have cast votes in favor of such legislation as that to close funding gaps in veterans' benefits and to increase death benefits for military families. The label also suggests that it's Republicans who are typically "pro-military." But as Media Matters for America noted, those measures were opposed by many Republicans who also voted for the Iraq war. Under the Post, the Times, and the Daily News' formulation, are those Democrats or are those Republicans in fact "anti" military?

I suppose it's just the latest example of what happens when a nation's press corps is rewarded not for integrity and dedication to honest reportage, but for playing by the rules and kissing the right asses. I really should've invested in Chap-Stick back in 2000. Business must be booming.