Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Letter to the Washington Post, #5

This is the fifth letter I've written to the Post since early February

Jim Hoagland’s March 2 column, “Long Winter for the Media,” was a very satisfying read. Given major media’s general inclination to deny a significant role in the shaping of public opinion, Hoagland’s frankness and honesty was refreshing.

He could have gone further, but the admission that print media, in competition with broadcast and cable, sometimes presents “complex events and trends…at the expense of understanding and fairness” is an important one.

It was all the more surprising, then, to encounter Hoagland’s extreme overstatement of the Bush administration’s “accomplishments” in his column of March 9 (“How to Make an Exit”).

Official silence and covert cooperation with “Turkey’s successfully managed military campaign into northern Iraq that ended Feb. 29” is success for the Bush administration? In what universe? As one foreseeable effect of the dishonestly represented, costly and ill-advised invasion of Iraq, a Turkish foray into Iraq supported by American intelligence is simply one more moment of mayhem closely connected with the war that will smear Bush’s name forever.

I reread the whole column, trying to discern why Hoagland might want to advise George W. Bush on ways to achieve some sort of graceful exit. “[Bush has] touched off changes in the international system that will take years or decades to absorb, repair or appreciate,” writes Hoagland.

Except for the people and countries that have already absorbed all the damage they can.

Jeff Epton
807 Taylor St., NE
Washington, DC 20017

202 506-7470

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