Previewing (Coverage of) Petraeus Hearing

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Weisman previews
the inevitable politicization of Army Gen. David H. Petraeus’ and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker’s Capitol Hill testimony tomorrow.

Writes Weisman: “[Petraeus and Crocker] might be the ones before the microphones, but the cameras will be trained on three of their inquisitors: Sens. John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.” He quotes Sen. Lindsey Graham calling it a “sort of dress rehearsal for who is best prepared to be commander in chief, who has the best understanding of what has happened, what was wrong in Iraq and how to fix it.” So, low-stakes, really.

Weisman later quotes Sen. Lindsey saying: “This hearing will be carried live and watched by few. The comments in this hearing will be replayed endlessly.” In other words, cable news will be responsible for supplying the Cliff’s Notes version of the testimony for the masses.

And Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin chimes in with (or “grumbles”) a bit of media criticism: “That’s a natural thing in the middle of a political campaign, that the media will look at the candidates, scrutinize them, read all kinds of things into their answers and their body language, into their greetings and their hugs and their coughs, their sneezes and a few other things.”

Their snubs. Don’t forget their snubs.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.