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NEWS YOU CAN LOSE, PART 1! Tenet and Myers made troubling statements. Your courtiers refuse to discuss them:


NEWS YOU CAN LOSE (PART 1): Will a war on Iraq harm the war on terror? Did Bush lose focus on the terror war? Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t have a clue. But in the past six weeks, three striking reports have been issued—reports which your courtier pundit corps has made a great point to ignore.

On November 4, a well-known military man said that the U.S. is losing momentum in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Who made this troubling statement? How about the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff! Here’s the start of a November 8, page-one report by the Washington Post’s Thomas Ricks and Vernon Loeb:

RICKS AND LOEB: The U.S. military is losing momentum in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan because the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban have proven more successful in adapting to U.S. tactics than the U.S. military has to theirs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week.

Gen. Richard B. Myers also said there is a debate taking place within the Pentagon about whether the United States needs to change its priorities in Afghanistan and de-emphasize military operations in favor of more support for reconstruction efforts.

“I think in a sense we’ve lost a little momentum there, to be frank,” Myers said in after-dinner comments Monday night at the Brookings Institution. “They’ve made lots of adaptations to our tactics, and we’ve got to continue to think and try to out-think them and to be faster at it.” Myers, the nation’s top military officer, suggested it may be time for the military to “flip” its priorities from combat operations aimed at hunting down al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to “the reconstruction piece in Afghanistan,” a notable shift in priorities for an a Pentagon that has eschewed nation-building exercises.

Three weeks earlier, the head of the CIA had told the Senate that al Qaeda poses the same level of threat to the United States that it posed before September 11. Dana Priest and Susan Schmidt, page one, October 18 Post:
PRIEST AND SCHMIDT: The recent series of terrorist attacks abroad signals a dramatic escalation of the threat al Qaeda poses to United States, a danger level similar to the period just before the Sept. 11 attacks, CIA Director George J. Tenet told Congress yesterday.

“The threat environment we find ourselves in today is as bad as it was last summer,” Tenet told the joint House-Senate panel examining the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies before the attacks on New York and Washington. “They are reconstituted. They are coming after us. They are planning in multi-theaters. They are planning to strike the homeland again.” Tenet said he had met with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge yesterday and will meet with him again today, adding that administration officials have “taken action in sectors we’re most concerned about.”

And in late October, we learned that “[a] prestigious task force led by two former U.S. senators has concluded that the American transportation, water, food, power, communications and banking systems remain easy targets for terrorists despite the government’s efforts at tightening the nation’s domestic security in the past year” (Mintz, WashPost, page one, 10/25/02). The panel was headed by Gray Hart and Warren Rudman, and included two former Secretaries of State and two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs. “A year after 9/11, America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil,” the report says.

What do these reports have in common? They have been aggressively ignored by our pundit corps, which is now deeply involved in getting in line with emerging Bush White House Power. Courtier pundits are scrambling hard to please Emerging Power. Awkward or embarrassing news is suppressed. Myers, Tenet, Rudman-and-Hart? Their statements have been widely ignored.

What kind of a nation would fail to discuss such reports? The kind of nation you now inhabit—the kind of nation whose courtier pundits exist to serve entrenched power. Your pundit corps has raced away from any discussion of these reports. And that explains one large part of pundit reaction to Gore.

In his critique of the War on Terror, Gore has explicitly cited Myers and Tenet. Here, for example, is Gore on Larry King Live:

GORE: I think that the administration lost focus where the war on terrorism is concerned, and I think that was a serious mistake…Look at what’s happened now. Osama bin Laden is back making threats at us. Al Qaeda is back posing just as serious a threat as it did during the weeks leading up to 9/11, according to our intelligence agencies. The war lords are back in power in Afghanistan, and the Taliban is back in Afghanistan. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said we’re losing ground there. The CIA folks are complaining that resources have been diverted away from the war against terrorism to the war against Iraq. I think that—
At that point, Gore was interrupted. His first reference, of course, was to Tenet’s statement. His second reference was Myers.

Anyone who reviews Gore’s critique knows that he’s drawing on Tenet and Myers. But remember—suppression of Tenet and Myers’ awkward statements is an objective of your courtier press. Therefore, pundits have recently gone on TV and pretended that they don’t understand Gore’s remarks. They pretend that Gore is making weird charges when the source of Gore’s statement is clear.

These people are courtiers, pure and simple. They’ll put their interest ahead of your interest every time. Even at a time of national danger and war, they won’t stop deceiving the American public as they lick the boots of New Power. Tomorrow, we’ll review the way the gang at Fox has freely dissembled about Gore-on-terror. In doing so, they put the American public interest in danger. But of course, that’s an easy choice for a courtier. In Part 2, we’ll watch them pander at Fox.

Their instinct for misinformation is stunning. Here was William Douglas in Sunday’s Newsday, pushing the latest canard:

DOUGLAS: In a dramatic reversal from his 2000 campaign position, Gore says he now favors a single-payer health care system, where the government finances health care while keeping delivery mostly private, over the current system.

Gore ripped his 2000 Democratic primary opponent, former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), for his single-payer plan, claiming that it would be too radical a change for the nation's health care system.

Douglas recites the latest spin, in which Gore is said to have pulled a full flip on single-payer (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/25/02). There’s only one problem with what Douglas says. Bradley didn’t propose single-payer—and no one ever said that he did. Now we’re being told something else, as part of the War Against Gore.

Of course, Douglas has hardly been alone. Over at the Post on-line, Terry Neal told the same tale on Monday:

NEAL: By most accounts, [Gore is] keeping close counsel, mostly his family and one full-time staffer, Jano Cabrera. And it’s paying off as he has come across more genuine and daring, if not inconsistent. For instance, he’s said repeatedly this week that he’s come to the conclusion that the health care system is irrevocably broken and that he now supports a single-payer national health care system, even though he ravaged Democratic primary opponent Bill Bradley for supporting the same in 2000.
Wrong—completely bogus. And of course, any time hackwork is spread about Gore, Bruce Morton is first in line to recite it. Is anyone less competent than this worthless flailer? Here he was, wrong again, on Inside Politics:
MORTON (11/21/02): On health care, [Gore] told the Associated Press, “I think we’ve reached the point where the entire health care system is in crisis. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion we should begin drafting a single-payer national health insurance system.” But didn’t he attack Bill Bradley for that during the primaries in 2000? Yes…Now, he says Bradley’s plan was bad but not all single-payer plans are.
Wrong again, Spin-Breath! We don’t know who sent out this spin. We don’t know where this hapless man got it. But as usual, Morton ran to sing the song on first. What have the American people done to have their discourse run by such an incompetent?

Others have tried to be more careful. At Salon, Anthony York fashioned this scaled-back howler:

YORK: His latest bombshell, which he dropped this past week as he and wife Tipper toured the country promoting their book, “Joined at the Heart,” was a rather startling shift on healthcare policy. During the presidential campaign, Gore attacked former primary opponent Bill Bradley for making universal healthcare coverage the centerpiece of his campaign. But last week Gore told a crowd in New York that he had “reluctantly” come to support a plan for universal coverage.
Incredible, isn’t it? Bradley didn’t propose “single payer”—but he didn’t propose “universal coverage” either! According to a much-discussed study by Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University, the Bradley plan would have produced 89 percent coverage. Gore’s plan would have produced 88 percent coverage, Thorpe judged. And the Bradley camp only claimed that its plan would reach 94 percent. No, no one ever said or thought that Bradley had proposed universal coverage. But it’s another way to heighten spin—Gore proposes what he once slammed—and for reasons his editors ought to explain, York misled Salon’s readers with it.

Winners here? Morton is simply uncontrollable—a bumbler of the first rank. And York is emerging as a merciless spinner. But where on earth are these hapless men getting the spin-point they so love to spin? Citizens should demand to know. Spin-points don’t emerge from thin air. Their editors really ought to tell us who is actually scripting these columns.

SMILE-A-WHILE: We’ve told you this a hundred times. Your press corps always blames it on others. We emitted a string of low, mordant chuckles when we read this Standard Passage from Neal:

NEAL: This massive media tour was designed to not only sell books but to re-establish the former vice president’s public presence and repair a reputation that took a beating in the 2000 presidential campaign, when he was portrayed by Republican and Democratic opponents alike as a canned, overly scripted politician with a propensity to stretch the truth.
According to Neal, Gore was portrayed as a liar “by Republican and Democratic opponents alike.” But of course, it was really the press corps which pushed this theme hard—much harder and farther than Gore’s opponents. Remember—the press corps will never tell you the truth about its own behavior and attitudes. They airbrush themselves out of all situations. When you read accounts by the press corps, where was the press corps? Not there!