An up-and-down year in which the MSM ignored the “up”

Duncan Currie sees 2005 as a good year for democracy. It’s too early to know whether the progress made in the Middle East this year will be the start of something big but, says Currie, “if the coming decades do in fact witness a democratic reformation in Middle Eastern politics, historians will likely trace its roots back to the events of 2005–namely, to the purple fingers of Iraqi voters.”
In many other respects, 2005 was an up-and-down year. Gas prices went up and then they went down. President Bush’s approval ratings went down and then they went up. The estimated death count from Hurricane Katrina went way up and then it went way down. The temperature of the Plame investigation story went up and then it went down. The level of violence in Iraq went up and down, but overall the security situation improved significantly due in major part to the fact that tens of thousands of Iraqi security forces now effectively participate in the security effort. Highly publicized danger areas (the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad, the Haifa road, Sadr City) became relatively safe, and thus no longer highly publicized. The MSM also failed to report on the substantial progress the U.S. made in training Iraqi security forces, and President Bush waited far too long to fill the void. The public hasn’t turned fundamentally against our action in Iraq, nor does it necessarily want a timetable for the end of our involvement — it simply (and reasonably) wants evidence that we’re making progress. Once the administation finally figured that out, the tide began to turn back in its favor.
The economy, by contrast, did not have an up-and-down year. Economic growth (including job creation) was robust and continuous except for a brief period following Hurricane Katrina. The MSM, which had harped on poor job and other economic performance reports earlier in the Bush administration, choose to ignore the economic success story of 2005. President Bush is planning to start telling that story too, which could help turn the tide further in his favor.

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