When is startling news not news?
When it casts the President in a more positive light.
Monday night (8/2/2004) on Nightline, Ted Koppel interviewed General Tommy Franks about his new book "American Soldier". During the interview, Franks revealed that the "major combat is over" theme was his idea, not the President's!
Koppel: "I want to take you back to an anecdote you tell in your book in which you say, in effect, when the President ended up on the carrier out there saying that major combat was over, that was you? You did that?"This is an incredible admission! Given the heat that Bush has taken for that statement, one would expect that the media should cover this aspect of the story just as extensively. But just like the Wilson lied story, the media remains silent, because this story doesn't fit with their theme.
Franks: "I confess, I did that, Ted. And factually, I had recommended to Secretary Don Rumsfeld, several days before that, that the President make such an announcement, for a couple reasons, actually. One reason was that I wanted all the troops who had been working hard on the ground in combat in Iraq, to get some sense of closure....Secondly, there were a number of nations who had indicated that they would provide force levels, troops to work with Coalition forces up in Iraq, as soon as major combat operations had been completed. And so, yes, that was my suggestion."
Then Koppel gets snotty:
Koppel: "Now, you didn't suggest he put on a flight suit and sit backseat on a plane landing on an aircraft carrier, did you?"Koppel actually argues with Franks over whether or not the idea was well advised! This is what passes for "journalism" in America!
Franks: "No one asked me about how he ought to do it, Ted."
Koppel: "And I assume, you didn't paint the banner that said 'mission accomplished,' either?"
Franks: "No, but I would have agreed with it, and as I looked at the President's comments on the 1st of May, I thought, 'good for him.'"
Koppel: "Clearly, as we look back, the mission was not accomplished. A significant portion of the mission was accomplished....But the fact of the matter is, phase four of the war, which you describe as being the post-major combat phase, the phase that we're in right now, really hasn't gone well at all."
Will anyone else pick up on this story? Diane Sawyer didn't when she interviewed Franks the next morning on Good Morning America. Sean Hannity didn't mention it on Hannity and Colmes last night.
All I can do is shake my head.
Source: Media Research Center