April 13, 2003

MBITRW

OK, I admit to a recent spate of Left-bashing. It's not really fair. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. There I go again. Besides, it's not just leftists that have been spectacularly wrong in their predictions about war, the Arab "street", and the rest. I don't want to get into the media coverage of the war in great detail, but it seems to me that it has "overdone" most everything, especially in seeing trends and drawing conclusions using too little data, assessed over too little time. I suppose that's predictable given the public's attention span and the need to fill 24 hours a day with cable TV content of some (any?) kind. Mark Steyn talked in his 4/11 column about "Media Time", defined mostly by those who oppose Bush's policies no matter what they are, and how they twist themselves into logical knots as a result:

Because he doesn't operate on Media Time, whereby 14 months is a precipitous "rush to war" but a 14-day war is a Vietnam-style quagmire, Bush doesn't get thrown off-course. He is a personally modest man with no particular desire to be on television all day long, which is why he's happy to let Tony Blair take as much of the limelight as he wants.

Incidentally, outside of a brief statement about how he was "heartened" by the liberation of Baghdad, how much have we seen George Bush in the media eye in recent days? (They've seen more of him on TV in Iraq than in the U.S.) Not only is he a modest man as Steyn says, but he is politically smart enough not to appear "triumphalist". And he knows it's not about him.

Steyn notes today how the media has moved on to whole new "quagmires" since the fall of Baghdad. Now that the war is won, surely we'll "lose the peace". Steyn offers up his "at-a-glance guide to what the experts who got everything wrong last week will be getting wrong next week". Upon stating each predicted diasater, he provides his MBITRW (Meanwhile Back in the Real World) commentary. Consider Item #4:

4) "If Saddam is not found dead, or caught alive, it will be the worst of all possible closures for the war against Iraq. Bin Laden himself continues to elude capture" (Roland Flamini, UPI) MBITRW: Obviously, it would be preferable if the late Saddam's future media appearances were confined to guest-hosting Good Morning, Hell! with Osama. But if he's reduced to bin Laden's current schedule - mailing in bi-monthly audio cassettes of Islamist boilerplate - what's the difference? Even if he'd escaped to Syria, he'd be spending the rest of his days as a Bedouin goat-herd. Right now, Boy Assad is doing his best not to attract Rummy's attention.

Steyn is the best Canadian export since Labatt, always worth reading, (and not meaning to slight David Frum).

Posted by dan at April 13, 2003 12:22 AM