Skip to comments.“Dump Don”: The media coverage of the Defense secretary suggests more than reporting at work.
Posted on 12/22/2004 7:47:07 AM PST by pookie18
The mainstream media is abuzz, making their strongest drive yet to depose Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But a critical look at who's talking and how their argument is framed shows a lack of new data from those theorizing Rumsfeld should step down.
While Democratic assaults against Rumsfeld and the Iraq-war effort are not new, the media is smitten at the prospect of GOP officials taking similar jabs at the Pentagon's leadership. Leading the charge are Senators John McCain and Chuck Hagel. It was McCain who first made a splash two weeks ago on Fox News Sunday, announcing his lack of confidence in Rumsfeld. To no one's surprise, the media ran with the story while McCain reciprocated, giving a number of interviews to print and television outlets. However, this past week when McCain issued the same statement, it was again treated as a breaking-news story. Meanwhile, Hagel continued his shadow-McCain approach, announcing on Face the Nation this Sunday that he too lacked confidence in Rumsfeld's leadership.
However, two facts must be observed in weighing the credence of their claims. First, both McCain and Hagel have openly begun their campaigns to succeed President Bush in 2008. Positioning themselves as moderate critics of the administration allocates them credibility in the eyes of the mainstream press and provides greater access to the media coverage a potential presidential candidate needs. Second, their criticisms of Rumsfeld and Hagel's opposition to the war effort are nothing new. Hagel went so far as to deride the entire administration for the deaths of soldiers in Iraq, stating, "I think it's very reflective of how out of touch this crowd is."
Maine Senator Susan Collins, fresh from her intelligence-reform victory over Rumsfeld, has been criticizing the war since it first became fashionable with the meteoric rise of the 9/11 Commission. And Trent Lott, an otherwise solid player in the war effort, has no love lost for an administration that allowed for, and some would argue advocated, his defrocking as Senate Majority Leader.
Meanwhile, the mainstream press has all but ignored the votes of confidence Rumsfeld has been receiving. This past Friday, influential GOP Senators Wayne Allard, Sam Brownback, Jim Bunning, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, Mike Enzi, James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, Ted Stevens, Bill Frist, Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Jon Kyl, and Elizabeth Dole released a joint statement offering support for Rumsfeld.
On Sunday's Face the Nation, Chambliss stated in no uncertain terms, "This secretary is very sensitive to the needs of the military. He seems insensitive when he makes comments. And that seems to be what gets him in trouble." And Virginia Senator John Warner, no close friend of Rumsfeld's, added in his Meet the Press appearance, "I have confidence in my ability and his ability to continue to work together as a team for the common goals of the men and women of the Armed Forces and to support the goals of the commander in chief."
More important politically than Rumsfeld's critics are his allies. And he has no greater ally than the president himself. As war opponent Chris Matthews observed, "I think [Bush] knows the secretary of defense is his voodoo doll and that people are putting pins in him to get the president and they're really attacking the war effort right now." When asked about his secretary's standing in Monday's press conference, Bush told reporters, "I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart. I know how much he cares for the troops.... I have heard the anguish in his voice and seen it in his eyes when we talk about the danger in Iraq.... He's a good, decent man. He's a caring fellow. Sometimes perhaps his demeanor is rough and tough but beneath that rough and gruff no nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military and deeply about the grief war causes."
This is all not to say that complaints against Rumsfeld lack validity. As Rumsfeld himself responded in USA Today to the National Guard soldier's question, "His question was a fair one, and I share his impatience." But taken in full context, Rumsfeld's critics lack the armor afforded to honest brokers not operating in a two-front political theater.
Eric Pfeiffer is senior writer for the National Journal's "Hotline".
Well, does anyone
believe there is ever just
reporting at work?!
Maybe they think that if they can get rid of Rumsfeld McCain will take over his job.
Brit Hume reported that two people ABC used as sources in that silly story about Rumsfeld's use of an autopen to sign condolence letters were actually longtime antiwar activists.
ABC made no mention of their backgrounds.
My thought, too. I had suspicions from the start it was all about an attempt to steal Rummy's job!
If the media was to play fair they would say something like "John McCain who is running for President in 2008 criticized Secretary of Defense today saying...yada, yada, yada!
McQueeg as Defense Secretary?? NOT! The man is a loon! The more they trash Rummy, the more I like him!! He must be doing a good job, otherwise the MSM wouldn't be on his case!
W would have to ask for it and he isn't going to.
The Iraqi terrorists also would like W to back down ........Well they have four more years to try. It isn't going to happen.
Rampant RUMMYPHOBIA. The MSM is hysterical.
Yes, heard it through his "grapevine" yesterday.
What was our first clue? Do Ruby Begonia Ring A Bell, or do we think REPORTERs actually report news and not create it for ratings or agendas? Hmmmmmmmmm.
And it was reported that of the 830 vehicles going into Iraq with Wilson's National Guard unit, 800 were already armored and the remaining 30 were armored within a day of the question. Would the guy serving in that unit already know that?
So is Wilson a Democrat active in politics back home? Curious people want to know.
The whole speech about finding parts in a dump site sounded really stupid to me.
McCain and Hagel love applause from the left. They would rather have that applause than support the President.
The only way you get that applause is by bashing repubs - especially Bush and Rumsfeld.
Besides, these two are getting ready to run in the presidential primary for 2008. The only way to get good press is for them to bash us. Hmmmm? I wonder if that will work anymore. Will Americans be willing to vote for people who sell them out for media applause ..??
Kingfish, Amos, Sapphire, am that you?
Hagel and McCain will never be presidential material. They will NEVER make it past the primaries. If they are going to run, I suggest they run as independents because they will never stand a chance of even being on the ballot otherwise.
Unless they follow the Hillary strategy of appearing to go right...for the primaries...hoping that they don't slip into their real RINO personas.
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