It’s long been a mantra of the Rightwingery that the media is pathologically reluctant to report on any good news coming out of Iraq.
Well, last night while most of us were sleeping there came a piece of incredibly good news for anyone hoping that the carnage in Iraq might lessen somewhat or that the insurgency might stumble: A successful American air strike reduced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Queda in Iraq, and half a dozen of his murderous cohorts to an oil spot in the sand.
Naturally, it occurred to us to check on how those media, purportedly averse to reporting good news, are reporting this particular piece of news.
Let us count the ways: 1, 2, 3 … 2,839.
That’s the number of stories appearing on Google News today (last time we checked) reporting on one angle or another about the air strike.
So much for that supposed aversion to genuinely good news.
Nevertheless, the outburst of good news has done little to satiate the blame-the-media-first pundits on the right. Already, the Drive-By Dittoheads are busy thrashing the overwhelmingly positive coverage of Zarqawi’s demise for — what else? — not being overwhelmingly positive enough.
“It’s sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration,” wrote Tim Graham on the National Review’s “The Corner.”
“Zarqawi is dead,” wrote Michelle Malkin. “Bush Derangement Syndrome lives on.”
Hugh Hewitt sized up the coverage thusly:
Here’s the key analysis you won’t here on MSM today: Had we not invaded Iraq, Zarqawi would not be dead today, but rather ensconced in some Baghdad safe house or larger encampment plotting more savagery.
And here’s the key analysis you won’t hear from Hewitt: It’s great that Zarqawi is gone, but the truth is, Bush could have taken him out years ago without invading Iraq, but chose not to at the time.
That fact was first reported by NBC news back in 2004 and later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal — a point that Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal rightfully raised again this morning.
“So, while it’s no doubt good news that Zarqawi is no more,” wrote Benen, “it’s worth remembering that Bush wasn’t willing to hit this known al Qaeda terrorist in a known location based on air-tight intelligence before the war even began.”
Amidst all the good news — and cries that the good news isn’t good enough — that seems worth remembering, indeed.