A View From The Handbasket

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"Liberal" media recycles GOP spin
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:54 PM
I'm on vacation this week, and part of that has been staying out of the day-to-day political food fight. Thus, not a whole lot of blogging. Yet, Leonard Pitts, Jr. appeared in my Sunday paper, asserting confidently as I rummaged for the funnies:

So yeah, I think Bush is right. More to the point I think U.S. Rep. John Murtha is wrong. Murtha, D-Pa., made headlines recently by calling for an immediate pullout of American forces...

It's not that he persuaded his fellow lawmakers to agree with him. A Republican-engineered proposal calling for a pullout (it was designed to get Democrats on the record on the issue) was defeated 403 to 3.

Pitts has swallowed the Republican bait-and-switch hook, line and sinker. What really happened, of course, is that Murtha introduced a resolution that called for withdrawal "at the earliest practicable date."

To bury this resolution, which had substantial support, the GOP immediately brought out its own resolution, which called for US military presence in Iraq to be terminated "immediately."

Needless to say, there's a world of difference between "earliest practicable" and "immediately." Yet the GOP spin machine quickly moved to equate the Republican resolution and the Murtha resolution, to the point where reliable GOP mouthpieces like Sean Hannity started referring to the Republican resolution as the "Murtha amendment."

No one in their right mind would vote for the Republican resolution -- it was designed to fail. Pitts woefully misstates the goal as "get[ting] Democrats on the record on the issue." Clearly, the goal was rather to introduce a completely inadequate and reckless "withdrawal resolution" that no one would vote for, have it defeated, and then loudly trumpet to the press that the House had nearly unanimously rejected "withdrawal" -- thus killing Murtha's resolution (which never made it out of committee).

Which is, of course, exactly what happened. And the press cheerfully went along with it, with the headlines obligingly reading, "WITHDRAWAL RESOLUTION DEFEATED 403-3."

And then Pitts can paint Murtha as a wacko whose ideas were voted down, 403-3.

It's a good thing we have Fox News so we can escape all the anti-GOP bias in the media.

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