A little more than a week ago, we were sent rolling on the floor in howls of laughter after reading this sentence by Washington Post White House reporter Michael Abramowitz:
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yet Another Washington Post Edition): It has not helped the neoconservative case, perhaps, that the occupation of Iraq has not gone as smoothly as some had predicted...
with its unmistakeable echoes of the Emperor Hirohito's surrender broadcast at the end of World War II:
Whiskey Bar: The Hirohito Effect: "Despite the best that has been done by everyone... the war situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage."
A number of Washington Post staffers told me that they thought Abramowitz intended his sentence to be read straight. But I couldn't quite believe it. So I wrote to Abramowitz and asked him whether the echoes of Hirohito were intentional, and he was being snarky.
He doesn't dare to reply.
So it is true. Abramowitz's sentence does indeed reveal how pathetically, incompetently, ridiculously weak he is: somebody who dares not do more than hint at the truth about the occupation of Iraq--that the occupation of Iraq has been a huge, horrible fiasco because of the incompetence, disconnection from reality, malevolence, and mendacity of the Bush administration--because if he does somebody might call him up and speak harshly to him. Somebody who thinks making a huge joke of himself is preferable to crossing White House media affairs in even a small way.
Tom Ricks's Fiasco talks about the failures of the American press corps, including the Washington Post--about the media's "inability... to find alternate sources of information [outside the Bush administration] about Iraq and the threat it did or didn't present to the United States," and because "Republicans weren't going to confront their own president and the Democrats were enfeebled.... The media didn't stand up because they had no one to quote."
But what's Abramowitz's excuse today? He has plenty of people to quote. Alternate sources of information abound. The example of Michael Abramowitz indicates that Ricks should have written "The media didn't stand up because they did not want to."