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Media Matters
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Media Matters has an absurd little criticism today:
Conservatives continued to belittle Iraq Study Group report
You know who else is belittling the Iraq Study Group Report? Media Matters Senior Fellow Duncan Black.
 
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So let me get this straight.

MediaMatters criticizes conservative critics that compare members of the ISG to “high school children” and “Nazi appeasers”.

Duncan Black criticizes the ISG for not having any members that originally opposed the war in the first place.

Right so far?
So is it your position that it is absurd for MM to criticize conservatives that compare members of the ISG to “high school children” and “Nazi appeasers”, or is it absurd for MM to criticize because MM Senior Fellow Duncan Black has different criticism?

The latter, I presume.
Using this logic, for one to critique the critics of a subject, one must have no criticism of the subject to begin with?

The absurdity is in this logic.

But of course, I may not be following you.
Elaborate, if you please.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Anything the ISG report recommends which does not conform to your particular world view is cause for intense criticism. From one perspective, if the report does not demand an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, then the report does not reflect the will of the people. From another, if the report does not require victory conditions prior to departure, then it is just another proaganda tool of the Cut-&-Runners.

My own impression of the report is this - Take is as a whole or cherry pick your favorite bits and pieces and denigrate the rest, I don’t really care - It is a positive thing - not for the recommendations made but for the real debate it has generated on the war.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
MediaMatters criticizes conservative critics that compare members of the ISG to “high school children” and “Nazi appeasers”.
Why do you point out the most rhetorically incendiary of the criticisms as if that’s all that was cited?

In any event, MM criticized them for "publicly attack[ing] both the ISG report and its members." Black does each in the two posts I linked.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Why do you point out the most rhetorically incendiary of the criticisms as if that’s all that was cited?
Because that’s what MediaMatters did. That’s what they do. They rarely criticize conservative comments that are not “rhetorically incendiary”.

I followed the link. I read the criticism of the criticism. I count four bullet points. All backed up with reference.

• Kristol said. "It’s as if Neville Chamberlain had had a Czechoslovak study group in 1938
• A December 11 Washington Times editorial opined that the ISG report was "incoherent," reflected "[t]he childlike innocence of the panel members," and "read like a ’wish list’ put together by a high-school social studies class learning about the Middle East for the first time, without any regard for history or geopolitical realities."
• American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Michael Rubin said that "the report, as a strategy document, was a ’Cliff Notes high school paper.’ "
• December 7 New York Post depicted the heads of Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN), the ISG co-chair, placed on the bodies of monkeys, with the headline, "Surrender Monkeys — Iraq panel urges U.S. to give up."
I did fail to point to the fourth bullet in my first comment, you know, the one where the NYPost photoshopped the heads of members on the bodies of monkeys.

Now it seems to me that it were these rhetorically incendiary criticisms that MM criticized. It may be the MO of MM to “point out the most rhetorically incendiary of the criticisms as if that’s all that was cited”, but there is no absurdity to criticize these rhetorically incendiary critiques.

You, Jon, yourself have often rendered scorn to such childish, fruitless rhetoric on many subjects and occasions.

MediaMatters is a partisan organization meant to highlight such rhetoric from the Right. Of course they are not going to highlight reasonable criticism from the Right. If they did, they would have to rename their website QandO.

In any event, MM criticized them for "publicly attack[ing] both the ISG report and its members." Black does each in the two posts I linked.
Fair enough. Perhaps MediaMatters should edit their headline to read, “Conservatives continued to - use rhetorically incendiary comments - to belittle Iraq Study Group Report”.
But my guess is that since that is what they commonly do – highlight rhetorically incendiary comments, that is – no such disclaimer is required for every .. single .. post.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Because that’s what MediaMatters did. That’s what they do. They rarely criticize conservative comments that are not “rhetorically incendiary”.
No, they mentioned other comments in that same post that I linked.

In any event, this is not the first. MM has been criticizing conservatives for merely "attack[ing] both the members of the Iraq Study Group and its report". They didn’t specify that some attacks were reasonable, others unreasonable. They hit Kristol for calling the report "an evasion".

MM does some good work, but they often dip into this kind of ridiculous stuff, too.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
The photoshopping of heads onto monkey’s is a little childish, but what’s wrong with criticizing the report?

I thought Wrectchard from the Belmont Club had a good analysis of it.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Conservatives who had supported this war, especially the neo-conservatives, are faced with complete marginalization over the failure that is the Iraq war. What else can they do but try to recast the situation as a case of a good idea that no one else has the courage and foresight to see through to successful fruition.

It no longer matters whether it fails completely or not, the new meme is going to be that failure was not caused by the initial action or the incompetence that followed. The new story will be that failure was caused by those who opposed the war and it’s successful conclusion.

THAT is the story here, and whether they are successful in selling it.

Supporters of the Vietnam War still argue that it was a good idea and that the only mistake was leaving because of surrender monkeys stirring up anti-war sentiment at home. The stage is being set for the same argument on Iraq in perpetuity.

Based on the rhetoric used to sell this war, Iraq was a mistake, pure and simple, we needed to KNOW there were WMD’s there, and then find them when we invaded. We are not better off, or safer because Saddam is gone. Iraq was a dangerous state, but it provided a check on other dangerous states, now the region is much more dangerous, and Iraq as a failed state is more dangerous as well.

But this is the first great adventure of the neo-cons and if they ceded this reality, they would essentially be volunteering to dive into the wastebin of history. People of this kind of arrogance simply do not go quietly.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
You probably won’t like it, but Matthew Yglesias offers up the best criticism of the ISG in my opinion here

Money quote
Bad ideas for Iraq are nothing new, of course. What’s especially egregious about the ISG’s recommendations is that the commission clearly recognizes the nature of the problem, as evidenced by the opening section of its own report. It then fails to address its own analysis simply because the only reasonable conclusion to draw from it is the politically unacceptable one that we’ve lost and we need to leave. The result, simply put, is a gross abdication of responsibility.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
It’s true: the ISG is getting no love from anyone. You have be thinking, if you’re James Baker, "why the heck did I bother with you hopeless animals?"
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
So if the US has lost the war? Who won? Saddam/Baath Party? No. Al-Qaeda? No, just read their internal memos. They have NO say in the govt. The Iraqi people? Did they win? Hmmm. And who’s side is the US defending at this point? So again, please tell who is winning the war in Iraq if not the US.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Money quote, from Clinton on CNN, 2003:

Clinton, July 2003: " . . . [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in ’98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn’t know it because we never got to go back there."
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Clinton, July 2003: " . . . [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in ’98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn’t know it because we never got to go back there."
I don’t think this means what you think it means.

first off, unaccounted for does not mean "Saddam has massive stockpiles".

We tried to destroy them and we are not sure if we did because we never got back in there, so then we DID get back in there and did not find them. That is a better case for the argument that they WERE destroyed than the alternative.

So your money quote essentially says that we tried to destroy any remaining WMD’s in 1998 and may have succeeded but we need inspections to verify. We had inspections started and Bush kicked them out so he could start his war.

If that’s your money quote, you are flat broke.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://

 
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