the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

September 26, 2005

Our Liberal Media


One of the dirty little open secrets of DC is that the editorial board of the allegedly liberal Washington Post supported the invasion of Iraq, and continues to support the war. As far as anti-war folks (or as I like to call them, the majority) go they seem to have little other than contempt.

Take for instance this editorial from Sunday’s paper:

The fundamental source of trouble is not the Islamic extremists President Bush usually speaks about; nor is it the presence of American soldiers. If the protesters visiting Washington this weekend succeeded in forcing a quick U.S. troop withdrawal, the bloodshed in Iraq, and the damage to the United States, would grow far worse.

Don’t you just love being talked down to? I suspect that the neoconish elites who run the Post imagine the anti-war crowd spends their time reading poetry to their bonsai plants. Note to Post editorial board: You were wrong in your support of the invasion. No nukes, no anthrax, no airborne drones, just a bunch of right-wing utopianists who wanted to remake the Middle East in their own image. Now wake up and smell the petroleum.

The Washington Post owns a free newspaper called The Express. As Alt Weeklies marketing director, Roxanne Cooper, put it: The Express is “the bane of my existence.” It really is pretty dreadful. For instance, today’s front cover (pdf) “Praise, Tears at Rally for Troops” shows grieving parents at the Support the Troops rally on Sunday (tiny) and only briefly mentions the anti-war demonstration on Saturday (massive).

Embarassing from a “reality-based” perspective, and unfortunately, typical.


  1. Yeah, I know what you mean. The Washington Post can really be infuriating sometimes, either
    for being outright wrong (Iraq, Roberts nomination) or for just writing editorials that seem
    based on nothing more than the prevailing mainstream media wind. That said, at least it’s a
    paper that still has some capacity to inform with some quality journalists and columnists.
    I’m glad they have Express, though. At least there’s something to counter the new rightist
    freebie spinrags (today’s Washington Examiner, with oh-so-suttle propaganda photos pitting a grieving pro-war mother against some sort of anarcho-syndicalist punk with a bandana over his face).

    —Jesse • 2:33 pm

  2. subtle, not suttle. Usually I spell better than that.

    —Jesse • 6:56 pm

  3. This entry reads like an ad hominem. If the Post’s editorial point was wrong, then explain why. Otherwise, you’re just blowing hot air.

    And as far as the Post being “wrong” about its support for the invasion, to be fair, most of the leading lights of the Democratic Party were “wrong” too. Senator Hillary Clinton:

    “No, I don’t regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade.”


    —whizler • 11:01 am, September 27

  4. You say the entry reads like an ad hominem, but the entry was about the theoretically liberal WaPo, and the pro-War bias of its editorial board and Express. I give an example of each.

    Me thinks a troll you are.

    —AltHippo • 12:05 pm, September 27

  5. The Post raises a very pertinent point and rather than answer it, you take the easy route and dismiss it as evidence of (more) pro-War bias.

    Given another opportunity, you still engage in ad hominems. One can only conclude you can’t answer the Post’s editorial.

    And since when did opposition to the Iraq war become a litmus test for liberal credentials? Do you believe only true liberals support the immediate withdrawal of US troops in Iraq?

    —whizler • 1:26 pm, September 27

  6. The Post is clearly a centrist publication, certainly not seriously liberal. The editorial made some good points. Unfortunately, like much so-called moderate opinion, it failed to underscore the fact that this mess was caused by the very war they supported. As for the charge that most Democratic leaders supported the war, this is just evidence that most Democratic leaders are more moderate than they are liberal despite the spin the right-wing puts on the Democratic Party.

    Also, to be “fair” to the Post, they seem to have contempt for everyone outside the Beltway, liberal and conservative grassroots alike. It is probably due to an inferiority complex with respect other papers (esp. the NYT). The Post is only important because it is DC’s paper, so it’s editors feel compelled to act superior to the rest of the country.

    —Jason Bradfield • 5:27 pm, September 27

  7. “It is probably due to an inferiority complex with respect other papers (esp. the NYT).”

    That’s my take as well. The Boston Globe felt similarly about the NYT, even now they’re in the same newspaper family.

    So, yes, their views are understandable. OTOH, If they’re going to write a pro-war editorial the day after a huge anti-war rally, they need to do more than just say, in effect, “you guys don’t know what you’re talking about.” For instance: you’ll note that the editorial asserts baldly that reducing troop levels will make things worse. How do they know? Would reducing troop levels by some fixed number per month in fact reassure ordinary Iraqis that we have a plan to return their country to them? The idea is at least worth considering.

    The purpose of the editorial in the Post and Monday’s Express seems to be to counter the rally on Saturday. Given that this is my community newspaper, I find that disconcerting.

    —AltHippo • 6:20 pm, September 27

  8. The problem with the Washington Post’s editorial is that it makes the typical mistake of assuming that all anti-war people are pushing for an “unrealistic”
    policy in Iraq: immediate withdrawal. This is the typical myth of the pro-war side, intended to try to marginalize anyone who dares to criticize the White
    House’s malfeasance. In reality, there’s plenty of discussion and debate on the anti-war side about where the Iraq policy should go from here. Some people
    argue for immediate withdrawal, but many others — who also oppose this war — are not in favor of immediate withdrawal. One good friend of mine who I know
    was at the protest Saturday opposes immediate withdrawal, but is still vehemently opposed to the war. But we know all agree on the fact that we were lied to
    and that this war never had to begin in the first place. We all know US troops are not going to leave Iraq anytime soon with Congress as
    quiet as it is on Iraq. We will be there in October to oversee the vote to ratify the constitution (gulp) and we’ll still be there in December for the next
    vote. We’ll almost certainly still be there through next year for the next round of parliamentary elections. The point is that the longer this war goes on,
    the more realistic the idea of withdrawal becomes. When does “stabilizing Iraq” become an indefinite investment in the future of Iraq? Isn’t that called
    quagmire? At some point the Iraqis will have to move forward on their own (or fail). The US forces can’t do anything about that. The only somewhat realistic
    goal at this point is training Iraqi forces. But how many do we still need to train (or CAN we train)? Bush won’t talk about realistic goals
    either. We really don’t even have reliable numbers about how many are trained so far. Then again, what’s stability? A few months ago the White House
    insisted we couldn’t pull out because Iraq would descend into civil war and become another Afghanistan. Now we have Sunnis and Shiites who were trained to
    be part of the Iraqi security forces, but who are now organizing militias to attack each other. That sounds a lot like the early stages of a civil war. But
    wait! US forces are still in Iraq! That’s not supposed to happen! Can the US hold Iraq together? Well, that’s the idea, but look at what’s happened after
    more than 18 months of training Iraqi forces. Attacks have steadily increased. There’s no real evidence of progress on anything. Our hopes for a democratic
    constitution have been badly shaken too. Will Iraq eventually become another “democratic state” in the mold of Pakistan? Or is that too optimistic? No one
    can reliably predict the future of Iraq at this point. But that still doesn’t get Bush off the hook for his original lies. Those who oppose the war are still
    demanding accountability for what is probably the most blatantly dishonest foreign policy decision in our history. Colin Powell has told us how humiliated
    he feels for having given his presentation to the UN. Yet many — perhaps most — Bush loyalists simply deny this history. One counterdemonstrator who came
    out into the middle of our march (he appeared to be a journalist, which is probably why police allowed him to come out from behind the counterdemonstrators’
    barrier and why I mistakenly began to talk with him) insisted on telling me how Saddam was allied with Al Qaeda. Obviously anything I had to tell him about
    how Al Qaeda hated Saddam (in fact called for Iraqis to overthrow him) was simply “lies” as far as he was concerned. I can only hope he’ll read something
    authoritative sometime. The UNSCOM and UNMOVIC reports would be a good place to start, since they concluded that the WMD threat was fairly minimal — back
    when it was still assumed that Saddam had some remaining WMD. Then there’s the Downing Street memos, which reveal that British Intelligence did not see a
    significant link between Saddam and any terrorist groups either. Then, of course, there’s US Intelligence itself, which had only hearsay evidence from
    people like “Curveball” about various nefarious activities said to be going on in Iraq. US Intelligence was pretty dubious on most of the purported evidence
    about Iraq, more concerned about the supposed WMD threat. Or is this just more “liberal media bias”? The senators let us down. It’s that simple. They were
    obviously not nearly skeptical enough of what they were being told (lies), and didn’t pay enough attention to the counterevidence (like the weapons
    inspectors). I don’t defend the Democrats for blowing it. But I also clearly remember how Bush insisted on pulling out the weapons inspectors after only a
    few months on the ground in Iraq at the beginning of 2003. They hadn’t found anything significant. It’s a “good thing” he didn’t let them keep up their
    inspections too much longer — especially since it was the purported threat of WMD (as opposed to the much less credible link to terrorists) that convinced
    the Democratic senators to fall into line.

    —Jesse • 1:11 pm, September 28

post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

Upcoming Events

See information on the revived DC chapter (2012).

DCDL Member Blogs

DCDL Speaker Links

DC Links

Liberal (Mostly) Blogs

Liberal Groups

Internal Links


Drinking Liberally

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


Search Blog



46 queries. 0.592 seconds