Saturday, June 2, 2007

No left-wing fable too old for Trib's Swamp

There are two standards when the MSM wants to allow stories in and out of the news flow. Sometimes a story is not newsworthy because "it's too old" or "it's already been covered." Those, coincidentally, are stories reporters and editors don't want to cover.

When it comes to stories the MSM wants to cover, like bashing President Bush over the Iraq War, there are no stories too old or too covered. They simply are picked up again and again as news and rerun right through the news cycle.

The Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau blog "The Swamp" is a reliable conduit for Bush hater news, as we've pointed out before. The Swamp is at it again with the tale of Elaine Johnson, the South Carolina mother of slain Iraq War Army Spc. Darius Jennings, and claim story that President Bush disrespected her and other soldiers' families at a private meeting in 2003 where they were given Presidential coins. According to Johnson, Bush told them not to sell them on eBay.

The Swamp's Mark Silva a couple of days ago picked up this account from NPR radio, which interviewed Johnson and other anti-war mothers who might assume the Cindy Sheehan mantle because God forbid we must have one like her available at all times to the conservative hating left-wing press.

Johnson, of course, suffered a great loss and we all respect that. She's welcome to speak out against the war whenever and wherever she chooses. However, the media has some obligation to cover the large number of mothers and family members of slain soldiers who don't agree with Johnson's views. We rarely hear from those folks in the MSM.

Johnson, however, is another matter. She has been all over the news media since 2003, when she first was interviewed by a newspaper as blasting the President after her son's death. She has been featured all over the left wing blogosphere and MSM since, saying essentially the same thing—over and over again.

She is trotted out at will, as a club against the President and the war. Her story is particularly satisfying to Bush haters, I guess, because she claims in the meeting with soldiers' families she dressed down the President for not being able to articulate the reason we are fighting the war, the reason her son was in the particuarly helicopter he was in at the time of his death, and the eBay story.

I don't for a second believe the eBay story as Johnson is telling it. From what I've read, she's never been a fan of GWB and has a more intense hatred of him after her son died. It wouldn't be unusual or unreasonable to believe she is twisting the story of her meeting to fit that hatred. However, it makes no sense for the President to conduct a special meeting with family members of slain soldiers and then proceed to demean them in a flippant manner.

My criticism is not really of Johnson, it is of Silva. How, exactly, is a story that has been told time and again since 2003 become news in 2007? Again. Because NPR repeated it? (By the way, it would be nice for NPR while it is using family members as props to bash Bush that it gets the date of Jennings' death correct. Talk about disrespect).

Common sense would tell anyone that the eBay story is a gross embellishment. Silva knows that the White House has a policy not to comment on presidential conversations with family members so he is "covered" by not obtaining a rebuttal. In essence it's a green light to smear at will. How about finding someone else who was there, Mr. Silva? Nah, that would too much work and the result would likely be troubling mitigation that might ruin a good Bush bash and spoil his regalement in the left wing blogosphere, where the eBay story is once again merrily circulating.

When Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are attacked in the MSM, outlets immediately come to their defense to present mitigating facts or to correct false impressions left by the story.

When Bush is attacked, any cheap shots are not corrected, they simply are spread. Then regurgitated every few months by lazy, ideological reporters.

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