The front page of today’s hardcopy Washington Post is all about Iraq. The top story focuses on the House debate on the war. Below that is a piece on alleged Shiite militia “control” of Iraqi prisons (that’s the headline, anyway; the story documents infiltration, not control).
The Post serves up two more Iraq stories on page 22. One is a story about the release at long last from Abu Ghraib (the featured ex-detainee spent his time there playing soccer and listening to the radio). The other is about the resignation of an aide to Prime Minister al-Maliki.
What about the seized document in which al Qaeda acknowledges that its situation in Iraq as “bleak?” The Post does not mention this item until the 21st paragraph of the story about the aide who resigned (which, again, appears at page 22).
Moreover, the Post devotes its discussion to questioning the document’s authenticity. It notes that, unlike “typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq” the seized document fails to refer to the U.S. as “crusaders” and Shiites as “rejectionists” or “dogs.” But of course the documents aren’t statements issued by al-Qadea for external consumption; they purport to be an internal assessment of its situation on the ground.
In order to vanquish any positive thought a reader nonetheless might have after reading about al Qaeda’s gloomy assessment, the Post immediately follows this discussion by rehearsing the American death toll in Iraq, a point it also makes in the second paragraph of its lead front page article.
When it comes to Iraq, the news section of the Post has become an anti-war spin machine, and nothing more.