Yesterday over at Election Central we reported that GOP Reps. John Shadegg and Pete Hoekstra had sent out a letter containing a set of talking points for GOP Congressmen to use in the debate in the House this week over escalation. As we noted yesterday, the letter was pretty interesting, particularly in that it urged GOP members not to talk about escalation and instead to change the subject to the wider war on "terror."
But there's another part of the letter that I'd missed yesterday -- and it may be even more revealing in a perverse sort of way. Look at what these two leading Republicans told their GOP troops about the media:
Thanks to the liberal mainstream media, Americans fully understand the consequences of continuing our efforts in Iraq -- both in American lives and dollars. The American people do not understand the consequences of abandoning that effort or the extreme views, goals, and intentions of the radical Islamist movement that is fueling the war in Iraq and the attacks on westerners and unbelievers throughout the world.
I think that's as clearly revealing as one could want. The problem with the liberal media, according to these two top Republicans, is that it's enabling Americans to understand the consequences of the war. But the media's bias is preventing it from reporting the "consequences" of not doing what the President wants.
This is really, really interesting when you unpack it. The media is being faulted for emphasizing the factual -- that is, for reporting on the factually observable things associated with the war that are happening right now, i.e., mounting deaths and skyrocketing costs.
Meanwhile, the thing that these two Republicans are criticizing the media for not doing is interpreting the war as being "fueled" by a single "radical Islamist movement." It's not doing enough reporting on what might happen if we pull out of Iraq. The idea here seems to be that the media's "liberalism" is preventing it from interpreting the war and speculating about the future in the way conservative war supporters want the media to.