Coverups and Coverups

Greetings from Hawaii. We’re here (my wife and I and my two youngest kids) for the weekend before going on to Japan. Waikiki is not exactly a wilderness experience, but we’re having a great time. The surf was up today, and we spent the morning in the ocean, wave-jumping. Pretty tame by some people’s standards, no doubt, but plenty of excitement for us. I know this is a serious political site and not the place for vacation photos, but I figure if Glenn Reynolds can post pictures of his brother’s cat, our readers will indulge this shot of me and daughters Ali and Kathryn in the ocean:
I’m posting from an internet cafe just off the beach; it’s a great spot. The first thing I did when I went online was to check Power Line, and I read our critique of Mark Dayton’s performance yesterday with pleasure. Because, while I was sitting at the gate in Minneapolis waiting to board the airplane for Hawaii, I was subjected to the CNN transmission that now afflicts air travelers nearly everywhere. And what was on at that very moment? Mark Dayton haranguing Donald Rumsfeld. I couldn’t see the screen, but couldn’t help hearing the broadcast, and I became so enraged at an unknown Senator’s idiocy that I got up, cursing under my breath, and went to see who it was. Sure enough–the senior Senator from Minnesota.
The whole absurd spectacle, including Dayton’s railing against the “suppression” of photos that have now been seen by approximately 5 billion people, got me thinking on the subject of coverups. It is clear that the highest priority of the American news media, and to a slightly lesser degree news outlets worldwide, is to ensure that no coverup of the Iraqi prison scandal will occur. On the contrary: 24-hour, gavel-to-gavel, non-stop coverage of the scandal will pre-empt more or less all other news stories for the indefinite future.
Someone–a lot of someones–have made the decision that this story is so important as to deserve such coverage. Yet there are stories out of the Middle East, far more important stories, that are indeed “suppressed” and “covered up,” at least as far as the mainstream media are concerned. Tens of thousands of Americans have done hundreds of thousands of good deeds in Iraq; infrastructure has been rebuilt, order has been restored (in most parts of the country), and millions of people have been liberated. Yet this good news is off-limits as far as major media are concerned. To learn about the many good things that have happened and are happening in Iraq, you have to be a cognoscenti, and know how to get your news from the internet and talk radio.
And what about al Qaeda’s foiled attempt, apparently coordinated from Iraq, to kill many thousands of Jordanians with chemical weapons that came from Syria, and very likely originated in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal? When no weapons of mass destruction were being found in Iraq, the same editors and reporters who now deem it necessary to give blanket coverage to the prison story thought it was critical that everyone in America absorb the lesson that a principal premise of the war in Iraq had been mistaken. But if the absence of WMDs was such an important story, then why is it not equally important when evidence turns up suggesting that Saddam’s weapons not only existed, but were transferred into the hands of terrorists? And yet the Jordan story has been “suppressed” and “covered up.” The most thorough-going government censorship could hardly have done a better job of keeping most Americans in the dark about what could turn out to be critically important news.
I don’t know how to explain the difference between what is trumpeted from the rooftops, non-stop, and what is covered up, unless it is simply a function of the fact that the people who decide what is news want America to fail in Iraq, and want John Kerry to be elected President.


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