20. November 2005 · Comments Off on The Murtha Myth · Categories: Media Matters Not, Military, Politics

I was going to write my own post on this this morning. But, as David Adesnik at OxBlog has already done it, I’ll just link:

Two things to notice. First, Matthews’ introduction of Murtha perpetuates the myth that a renowned hawk has suddenly turned against the war. A renowned hawk is what Murtha is, but as many, many bloggers pointed out immediately after Murtha made headlines, he’s been saying exactly the same thing about Iraq for more than a year now. This is a manufactured story.

Second of all, it is remarkably disingenuous for Murtha to talk about how his recent visit to Iraq changed his mind about the war. If you listen to the full interview, he also lists a number of other recent data points as contributing factors. In other words, Murtha himself is now peddling the myth of his sudden conversion from hawk to dove. Karl Rove would be proud.

Murtha was on Meet the Press this morning. And Russert was more balanced in his interview than Matthews. But Murtha was perpetuating the ancillary myth that there was “no progress” being made in Iraq. But, as Austin Bay blogs here, that’s hardly the reality:

After my return from Iraq I received phone calls and emails from military friends as they either came back to the US on leave or finished their tours and re-deployed “Stateside.” The typical phone call went like this: “I’m back. It’s great to be home. What’s up? How are you doing?” Then, the conversation quickly moved on to: “What’s with the press and Iraq?” The press usually meant television. On tv Iraq looked like it was going to Hell in a handbasket of flame and brutality; however, the images of carnage didn’t square with the troops’ experience.

Today on StrategyPage, my good friend Jim Dunnigan takes on the subject of “troop/press dissonance” from his typically idiosyncratic angle. I’m going to quote from “There’s more going on in Iraq than a media event” at length. (As the essay notes, there is also more going on in Iraq than a war.) Visit StrategyPage and read the second story, “Journalism versus Reality.”

Murtha further stated that he couldn’t get the straight dope from commanders on the ground in Iraq “because they were afraid of retribution.” Then he repeated the Shinseki Myth. But surely that wouldn’t be the case when those same commanders are talking “off the record” to their friend and confidant, Bay.

Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds, for both links.

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