December 15, 2005


In Iraq, the nation - including a heavy turnout of Sunni, the Iraqis we've been worrying about all along - just had a parliamentary election. It was by all rational accounts (gitouttahere, Joe Biden) a rousing success.

What's on front page of the Strib online? "Das Booty", the Vikings Sex Cruise.

Wait - maybe the World, a story about new standards at Oxford University (a Sunni-focused story is currently #3 in line).

The Strib: trivializing the earth-shaking for over 100 years!

Posted by Mitch at December 15, 2005 05:14 PM | TrackBack

They don't call it the "Red Star" Tribune for nothing.

Posted by: Brad at December 15, 2005 04:51 PM


It was front page yesterday, will be tomorrow, you are just unbelievably biased... your words are nearly nonsense. From suggesting that Kerry said US Troops are terrorists to this, you twist reality into an attack at every chance.

Mitch, misrepresenting facts for over 20 years!

Hey Mitch, speaking of flip-flops on Iraq..

CBS reports Bush has flip-flopped and adopted McCain's anti-torture proposal. I would have posted a link, but Mitch doesn't allow links from disreputable sites like CBS news...

Also, most people expected the Sunni's to vote, the issue is whether it will change the Shiaa and Kurd dominance. If it fails to, expect more problems. I don't hold Bush accountable if it fails to (other than a dumb plan that didn't deal with it), but you're ready do declar "success", success on what? Getting a vote? Yay!, but if that doesn't curb the insurrection, then it didn't accomplish much. If it legitimizes the marginalization of the Sunnis in fact, it will have failed.

But hey, you hold 4/4ths of power, please blame the Democrats some more for Bush's flawed and really, non-existent plan. Or I guess you consider this a plan.

1. Invade
2. Setup a corrupt CPA
3. Declare a non-existent turn over of sovreignty
4. Hold a vote for a constitutional congress
5. Hold a vote for whatever they've adopted

Yeah, that's a plan, and Tom Delay is a nice guy.

The issue is not the Democrats, and whatever amongst 3 or 4 "approaches" they might take, the President is in power, and HE must answer for why this vote may cement the fracture of three ethnic groups into warring parties, why he turned a blind-eye to memos approving rendition and torture (born out by repeated and similar conduct all over the globe), why he lost control of the country in first place, and ultimately, why we are there when the threat of terrorism sponsored by Iraq, was essentailly non-existent where the US was concerned and he knew it.

But no, Mitch, you'll continue to attack the powerless minority, and misrepresent reality. Anything to keep your side from being held accountable - after all, for the personal accountability party, the buck stops at the Democrats, and the StarTribune.


Posted by: pb at December 15, 2005 05:48 PM

[Backs away slowly.] Ummm, whatever you say, pb. [Checks his pocket for pepper spray.]

Seriously pb, some day you'll learn that people can think differently about the same subject/event/set of facts. (Or you'll die of an aneurysm from getting so riled up about so little so often. Believe it or not, we're hoping for the former.)

To us, it's a shame that you don't experience any cognitive dissonance when considering the fact that the Strib, CNN, and most other MSM outlets dropped the Iraq vote story from their front (web) pages halfway through the day, while soldier deaths and suicide bomber attacks regularly stay on the front pages for much longer.

[Dials "9-1-" on cell phone.]

Posted by: Steve G. at December 15, 2005 06:29 PM

"...the Strib, CNN, and most other MSM outlets dropped the Iraq vote story from their front (web) pages halfway through the day, while soldier deaths and suicide bomber attacks regularly stay on the front pages for much longer."

That is utter malarkey. Your cynicism may be well-founded but your understanding of how the news biz works is appalling. In the first place your assertion about deaths and bomber attacks maintaining a longer presence on news websites just isn't true. As of this writing (8:05PM CDT) the NY Times, the LA Times, the Miami Herald, MSNBC, CBS (yes, the dreaded CBS) and the Philly Inquirer are all still featuring the elections prominently on their front page. I know these outlets don't compromise ALL of the dreaded librul media but those examples alone pretty much shoot your theory to pieces.

Second of all, if a paper (such as the Strib) did push aside such an important story (bombings, elections or otherwise) for something less substantial then their motive for such an action is READERSHIP, not a sinister plot to keep Iraq in ruins and drive GW from the Oval Office in handcuffs. Hard enough as it is to believe the majority of readers in the Twin Cities are probably going to be more interested in the First String Vikings Sexcapades than in an Iraqi election where nobody got blowed up; to believe otherwise is naive and just plain dumb. The Strib is a second-tier local paper and their priorities are local stories.

Posted by: Tim at December 15, 2005 08:20 PM

It's still not on the main page at 8 PM. But I doubt it's because the online side wants to stifle any good news coming out of Iraq - it has more to do with repositioning the online version towards local news. The top stories, after all, are the Vikes, the Twins, the snow, the new Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Duluth mayor swearing off booze, and "Brokeback Mountain," which is local because . . . uh, because . . uh, one of the stars is related to the editor?

Not to be a shill for my employers, but I'd rather they go local for online - and the A section as well, for that matter. International news breaks, you don't go to the Strib site. Likewise, CNN isn't going to run a story about the Duluth mayor foreswearing hooch.

Anyway, that's just my opinion, and anyone who doesn't agree is a malicious propagandist who twists the truth and refuses to see reality or stay awake nights mad about all the things I'm mad about. A list is available on request.

Posted by: Lileks at December 15, 2005 08:32 PM

Tim, who said anything about a sinister plot? I don't think there's any conspiracy, I think it's left-leaning people producing news from their point of view.

Regardless, I shouldn't have said "most other MSM outlets," because it happens that the ones I was checking on were the ones that dropped it out of the limelight. My mistake.

(Although CBS has now pushed it into the "more stories" section too.)

Posted by: Steve G. at December 15, 2005 08:57 PM

On the other hand, CNN's main screaming story at 10 PM is "Freezing rain blasts across Southeast," which is surely a matter of national concern. (Fox news, cheekily extending a non-purple finger to its Rovian overlords, also leads with the ice storm.)

It's not so much bias, I think, as the media's insatiable need for WHAT'S NEXT. Attention span of a mayfly on a hotplate, these guys.

Posted by: Lileks at December 15, 2005 10:23 PM

There is one thing worth reading in the Strib, and it starts with "Q."
Perhaps the rapid disappearance of the story from many online outlets probably does indeed have more to say about the attention span of the media than any bias. On the other hand, let a co-ed go missing and it tops the headlines (seemingly) for weeks. News stories about the latest homicide bombing are given equal weight and news cycle duration with a watershed event like these remarkable elections.
Does this type of media coverage fuel public opion against the war? Or is the media only trying to give the market the coverage it demands? Egg, meet chicken, chicken, meet egg.
PB, as usual you refute yourself brilliantly. Let's take one line that you meant as a throw-away: "Also, most people expected the Sunni's to vote..." To paraphrase Aretha Franklin, Think THINK about what you are saying there:
1) Most people EXPECTED the Sunni's to vote. Most people expected the SUNNI'S to vote. Most people expected the Sunni's to VOTE. Nobody expected to write that sentence three years ago -- unless like so many MSM outlets you count the farcical elections of Saddam as 'voting' with little or no apparent irony.
2) Sunnis have bought into the process in huge numbers and have rejected the foreign 'insurgency'
This would have been unimaginable even 1 year ago... to everyone but the evil neo-cons who predicted it. In historical terms, never has so much been given to so many for so little. Not bad for a guy without a plan.

Posted by: chriss at December 16, 2005 03:22 AM

Or I guess you consider this a plan.

1. Invade
You gotta start somewhere. To remove the cancer you must first cut the flesh.

2. Setup a corrupt CPA
As opposed to the previous corrupt MA. At least the six-foot high meat grinders were unplugged.

3. Declare a non-existent turn over of sovreignty
See Answer to #1

4. Hold a vote for a constitutional congress
And this was a mistake, how?

5. Hold a vote for whatever they've adopted
Wow, self determination. What a concept! By golly, that fool Bush has started a democracy despite his pathetic plan.
I'm impressed. But then I don't suffer from BDS.

Posted by: Kermit at December 16, 2005 08:15 AM

"It's not so much bias, I think, as the media's insatiable need for WHAT'S NEXT. Attention span of a mayfly on a hotplate, these guys."

James has nailed it once again!! Mayflay, Hotplate. Seriously, that was a pretty impressive visual! I can hear the crackling of the editors feet as we speak!


Posted by: Flash at December 16, 2005 08:32 AM


First, I have been the MOST STRIDENT advocate, the most consistent proselitizer for discourse, so I'd ask you to go back and read that.

Second, it was Mitch who was all in a tizzy. As Chrisss, Tim and Flash pointed out, the fact that the on-line news page updated with other things is a testimony to attention span. I'm willing to discuss cognitive dissonance, and freely accept others may disagree. Mitch was the one who applies villiany to the conduct.

Third, Kermit, the issue is that 5 bullet points does not a plan make, not that holding elections is a bad idea. The problem was, and here is the "serious discourse" part, the problem was that the country was VERY likely to fracture. This vote, in part, is a reaction to Sunni self-imposed disenfranchisement in the January elections. They now seek to remedy the dominance of the Shiaa. The point being that if they cannot, and it is likely they cannot, the violence will explode. They are looking at this vote as a watershed of deliverance, and I am concerned it will not be that deliverance. No one, anywhere, suggested self-determination was bad, that's just a silly straw man, and I know you are better than to use that sort of foolish, short-attention span kind of sound bite. Mitch isn't, but you are.

A vote needs to do more than reinforce tribal/schizm-based dominance, if the minority is powerless (or nearly), then self-determination is begged, and insurrection is the natural result.

The problem the President faces is that his psuedo-plan, on which he is marching whether the facts support that he should do so, simply rubber-stamps a poor framework. I am hopeful, probably unjustifiably, that even with the apparent disenfranchisement, the majority of Sunni will desire SOME peace, rather than continued war, but there is NO guarantee of that, and the credit for it will be entirely their's and entirely NOT the administrations, which looked to simply put an "eye-wash" government in place - rather than redress the problems.


Posted by: pb at December 16, 2005 10:35 AM
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