Benghazi, the Justice Department seizing AP phone records, and the IRS targeting Tea Party groups: Much of the Beltway press corps–which has pushed the Benghazi story for months–is seeing the Obama presidency in a state of near free-fall. But what's actually happening?
Some days the Newspaper of Record says a lot–not always in ways you might expect. Today (3/21/13) a story by Mark Landler and Rick Gladstone about allegations of chemical weapons in Syria includes something you see often–anonymous government sources. That can often be a bad thing; but today it's pretty useful: Two senior Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, said that Israel was sure that chemicals were used, but did not have details about what type of weapons were used, where they came from, when they were deployed, or by whom. […]
We've been seeing a lot of this sort of thing lately–this time from Elizabeth Wurtzel on TheAtlantic.com (1/9/12): All the reasons Romney is disliked are all the reasons he would be an excellent president. Let's start by recognizing that principled politicians are highly overrated–consider Jimmy Carter as Exhibit A. Despite our pretensions to pretension, we are not a country that loves ideology–we're not, heaven forbid, France–so much as we are a can-do people that, after all, last elected a yes-we-can president. We like what works, not what it says in The Communist Manifesto, which reads like a guidebook for a […]
The first sentence of Mark Landler's piece in the New York Times today (7/21/11): It is a truism of Middle East peacemaking that the United States is the pivotal player–the most credible broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. If by "truism" he means "something most people don't believe to be true," then this makes sense. If he means "truism" in the other, more conventional way, then it is difficult to understand the article in question–which is about Palestinian efforts to pursue alternatives to U.S.-backed negotiations.
Sometimes when you read reports about the Middle East, you get the impression that corporate journalists think Palestinians are another species entirely. Here's the New York Times' Mark Landler (3/4/09) explaining the theory of how better relations with Syria could help create a peace deal between Israel and Palestine: By seeking an understanding with Syria, which has cultivated close ties to Iran, the United States could increase the pressure on Iran to respond to its offer of direct talks. Such an understanding would also give Arab states and moderate Palestinians the political cover to negotiate with Israel. That, in turn, […]