The Press, Pelosi and Torture

The most striking aspect of the establishment media coverage (mainly cable news) of the Pelosi situation is that it mirrors the ridiculous coverage we saw during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Rather than examining the very serious facts and fallacies, more attention is being given to sideshow distractions and superficial "did they make their case" banter.

The Republicans dictated the terms of the debate back then, and they appear to be doing so now. But this time, it's clear that both factions -- the establishment media and the Republicans -- are clearly in CYA mode. If the discussion moves to the Torture-for-War nexus, then we have to discuss the run-up to the war which will invariably include talk about how the press failed to expose the problems with the the plans for invasion.

But instead of making up for those pre-war failures, the establishment media is repeating the same behavior.

In particular, it's glaringly awkward to watch MSNBC during the morning and daytime as they attempt to turn this Pelosi-Panetta news into a sequel to their treatment of the Democratic primary campaign. You know, turning a serious debate into a "He Said, She Said" smackdown.

It reeks of desperation -- desperation to avoid the real issue -- and amplifies many of the negative observations we've all made about the awful state of television news reporting.

Adding... Yglesias wrote an excellent piece about how the GOP's Pelosi focus is bound to backfire on them.