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Sunday, April 11, 2004

No news here, folks, move along, move along 

Richard Reeves - EXIT STRATEGY: FIRE THEM ALL
Reeves notes about the PDB on Bin Laden: "The title, by the way, was published a year ago in The Washington Post, but no one noticed -- as no one noticed a front-page story in The New York Times revealing the secret bombing of Cambodia more than 30 years ago. An institutional flaw of the press is that it says things only once, and if the timing is wrong, no one notices."
I tried to post about this yesterday (Blogger was down) -- I think there is more of a pattern here than Reeves realizes.
The May, 2002 Washington Post story Reeves is talking about is here.
Note that it was written by Bob Woodward, who was at the time talking to Bush for his fawning book to be published in November of that year.
Note also the tone of the story -- poor Bush, he really didn't have the right information.
This is a frequent technique we have seen in the Bush campaign and administration for the last four years. A story starts to heat up, media start to circle. Then a high-profile reporter publishes a page one story quoting unnamed but obviously authorative sources which appears to wrap everything up -- there is nowhere else to go, everything is settled. You can almost hear the patrolman at the crime scene saying "Nothing to see here, folks, no news here, just move along, move along."
Reeves says its a story that no one notices -- but in fact its a story that everyone notices -- this one was on page one of the Post -- but it creates the impression that the issue is all wrapped up, that there is no more news here.
And sure enough, in a few weeks after this, the media had moved on to quoting their unnamed confidential sources about how successful the US would be in a war with Iraq.



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