News media certainly do not simply repeat each other: writing, as it were, from one playbook; as may be seen in this selection of lead paragraphs.
- ABC News: "The White House insists progress is being made in Iraq despite the former top US commander there describing the war as a nightmare."
- Bloomberg: "Retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who led U.S. forces in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, criticized American leaders for placing partisan gain at home above victory abroad and consigning America to a 'nightmare with no end in sight.'"
- CBS: "The U.S. mission in Iraq is a 'nightmare with no end in sight' because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday."
- Fox: "The former top commander of coalition forces in Iraq may have called U.S. efforts there catastrophically flawed and unrealistically optimistic, but much of the criticism of the media by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has been left unreported."
- MSNBC.com: "A 'failure of the national political leadership' is responsible for the 'nightmare' of the Iraq war, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said Friday."
- USA Today: "The former U.S. commander in Iraq, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, has delivered a withering indictment of the the White House's handling of the war, telling a gathering of military journalists that 'America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.'"
- BBC: "A former US military chief in Iraq has condemned the current strategy in the conflict, which he warned was 'a nightmare with no end in sight'."
- The Sydney Morning Herald: "Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has dismissed a former top US military commander's scathing assessment of the war in Iraq as 'a nightmare with no end in sight'."
My hat's off to the news media, for reporting a former military commander's criticism of America's political leadership. That's the sort of reporting that help keep politicos relatively honest and diligent.
On the other hand, I'd be more impressed if one cable news network didn't scoop everyone else about the rest of what General Sanchez had to say.
General Sanchez, speaking at the Military Reporters and Editors Association (MREA), targeted
- The State Department
- The National Security Council
- The Pentagon
- General David Petraeus, the current Iraq commander
Besides the usual suspects in Washington politics, General Sanchez said that reporters were guilty of "unscrupulous reporting, solely focused on supporting an agenda and preconceived notions of the U.S. military."
He didn't name a specific company, but Sanchez said that the political agendas of "parent media organizations" directing news coverage of the war sometimes put U.S. soldiers in lethal situations.
This criticism of the press shows up only on Fox News. That news organization released quite a bit of General Sanchez' remarks to MREA to the general public.
"What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war. My assessment is that your profession, to some, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, reads in newspapers and what they see on the Web," Sanchez said.
Fox News reports the current score of car bombings, just like any other news service, but I wish they weren't the only one to mention, let alone quote, General Sanchez' scathing criticism of the news media.