To clear any doubts you may have about the MSM bias against President Bush and the war in Iraq, just look how they covered the stories of two Congressmen offering their opinions on the state of the conflict.
When Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia proposed token troop withdrawals as a “symbolic step” to spur the Iraqi government to make political progress, he got top billing on an MSNBC evening news show while garnering headlines on AOL and Yahoo! homepages. An AP writer called Warner’s “new position. . . a sharp challenge to a wartime president that will undoubtedly color the upcoming Iraq debate on Capitol Hill.”
When Democratic Congressman Brian Baird of Washington State, a legislator who had “voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy” returned from Iraq with the conviction that “U.S. troops must stay in Iraq longer, and that a precipitous withdrawal could have catastrophic results for Iraq and the region,” he did get some media attention.
His change of position, however, did not get top billing on news sites nor did it lead the evening news on any network. We did not see MSM reports that his new stance represented a sharp challenge to his party’s leadership. Nor did we see such headlines as, “Former War Opponent Favors President’s Plan to Complete Mission” or “Top Democrat Bucks Party Leadership on Iraq.”
As more and more Democrats, even including a few presidential aspirants, recognize the success of the surge, with U.S. News finding that this success had shifted momentum in the Iraq Debate to the GOP (via Instapundit), the MSM would rather focus on the statement of a Republican who frequently bucks his party.
To be sure, The Seattle Times did publish Baird’s piece asserting that “Our troops have earned more time” which garnered a headline on the Real Clear Politics home page. But, his shift just didn’t generate the coverage that Warner’s did. And as U.S. News discovered, he’s not the only Democrat who have become more averse to withdrawal because of improving conditions on the ground in Iraq.
After reading Baird’s column, Glenn Reynolds doubts it will “get the kind of Big Media attention that John Warner’s comments will, because it doesn’t fit the preferred narrative.” Looks like he’s right.