Let's say we're at war, and we're waiting for some specific action to take place to show us that our efforts are succeeding. Add in that the war itself would be rather controversial and that our political class is split as to whether we will ever see that specific action take place. Imagine that Congress and the White House have scheduled a showdown in the next couple of weeks to determine how much longer we will wait for that development.
Now imagine that the specific action for which we've waited actually occurs. Where would you think that story appear in Washington's biggest newspaper? The front page, one might assume. Would you believe ... page 9?
Iraq's top five political leaders announced an agreement Sunday night to release thousands of prisoners being held without charge and to reform the law that has kept thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's political party out of government jobs.
The agreement was publicized after several days of meetings between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite; President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni; Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite; and Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region. ...
Although details of the proposed revisions to the de-Baathification law were unclear late Sunday, advisers to the political leaders said the changes would allow former members of Hussein's party to hold civil service jobs unless they had been high-level leaders or were accused of committing a specific crime. The new law would replace Iraq's Supreme National Commission for De-Baathification with a new committee dedicated to prosecuting former party members accused of crimes.
At least the Washington Post reported the story. Over at the Los Angeles Times, where they claim that "From Baghdad to Buenos Aires, The Times' 30 foreign correspondents cover news from around the world," they don't even bother to report the story at all, despite having a later "bed" time than the Post. In fact, they didn't even bother to reprint the AP or Reuters dispatch on it.
Over at the New York Times, meanwhile, another strange silence appears on this story. Again, like their West Coast namesake, the NYT doesn't even bother to run the story from its wire services. On their Iraq page, which lists all of their stories on the topic, they list no new stories for today, and only a background story on Congressional visits and an op-ed by Fred Kaplan about the loss of faith in senior leadership by junior officers from yesterday.
What happened to "all the news that's fit to print"? Perhaps we're seeing "all the news that prints to fit" -- the predetermined narrative. At least the Post actually reported the development.
Hell, even the BBC managed to report the agreement, even if they buried it in a report about French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's apology for doing what Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin did here:
Leading Shia, Kurdish and Sunni politicians signed a reconciliation deal on Sunday and held further talks where they reported progress towards agreement on holding provincial elections and easing a ban on former Baath party members. ....
Last week Mr Kouchner said the Iraqi government was "not functioning" and was quoted saying he had told the US that there was strong support in Iraq for Mr Maliki to resign and he "has got to be replaced".
In an interview with RTL radio on Monday, Mr Kouchner said: "I think that he [Mr Maliki] misunderstood, or that I was not clear enough that I was referring to comments I heard from Iraqis I talked to."
"If the prime minister wants me to apologise for having interfered so directly in Iraqi affairs, I'll do it willingly," he said.
That says something about our own classless politicians, who managed to be more rude than the French, and less gracious afterwards.
UPDATE: Even the Guardian managed to report this, and they put their paper to bed long before any American newspapers do:
Easing de-Ba'athification laws passed after the 2003 US invasion has long been seen as a vital step if disenchanted Sunnis, who formed the backbone of Saddam Hussein's regime and, since its fall, of the insurgency, are to be persuaded to take part in Iraqi political life.
Agreement was also reported on holding provincial elections and releasing detainees held without charge across the country, two more of the "benchmarks" set by the Bush administration for political movement it hopes will stave off mounting congressional demands for a withdrawal from Iraq.
The Guardian has resolutely opposed the Iraq war all along and has consistently demanded withdrawal -- and yet the editors find room to actually report news. Go figure. (via Instapundit)