Sit through a random newscast or a half-hour of cable TV news, or listen to your favorite radio talker. In other words, take the temperature of America via the media and identify what's missing.
Is America at war with immigrants? Is the mortgage crisis the hottest topic in America? Is the public transfixed by the latest candidates' debate?
The war in Iraq is the biggest nonstory of the moment, an overarching situation that is largely missing in action from the daily media rundown
In the first quarter of 2007, coverage of Iraq made up 22 percent of all news, according to Mark Jurkowitz of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. In the second quarter of 2007, that number fell to 16 percent.
Jurkowitz, a former media writer at the Boston Globe, said that if you take the week after Petraeus' visit to Congress, through last Friday, "the Iraq policy debate is down to 3 percent" of the total news hole.
Coverage of campaign '08, by contrast, started big and has stayed big, continuing with a staggering intensity. (The Democrats have gotten more coverage than the Republicans by a significant margin, and Hillary Clinton is the most covered candidate of all.)
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press similarly found the percentage of respondents who said they follow news about Iraq very closely dropped from about 40 percent in late 2006-early 2007 to about 30 percent in the second half of 2007. Pew reported in November that, "News about the Iraq war does not dominate the public's consciousness nearly as much as it did last winter. Currently, just 16 percent of Americans name the Iraq war as the news story that first comes to mind when asked what has been in the news lately." More generally, Pew found, public interest in news about the situation in Iraq is now less than it was earlier this year or in 2006.
It may not be an overstatement to say that Iraq war coverage is declining so fast that some viewers may forget we're at war by the end of the year. According to the Tyndall Report, for the first 37 weeks of 2007 (January-September) when Gen. Petraeus concluded his testimony on Capitol Hill, the total number of minutes the three network nightly newscasts devoted to Iraq was 1,659.
This is obviously not good news for Democrat candidates, who've staked out their political futures on how they'd handle Iraq and other similar situations with "diplomacy" and "international support". It's even worse news for the party who claims they won the midterm elections by a landslide (instead of the realistic hair's breadth with moderate Democrat candidates) based on the mandate to get us out of Iraq.
How can this happen? "The people" want us out of Iraq, Pelosi still parrots every moment of face time she gets.
With the good news that escapes broadcast, seeping out in sporadic articles in print and web media, a complacent nation again turns it's attentions back to their favorite subject... themselves and their own living conditions. And lost is a powerful liberal tool for campaigning.
Or is it? As one of my faves, Ray Robison, points out in his American Thinker article today, "Manufacturing Dissent: An Odd Poll Raises Questions", there's something fishy about the poll responders that are presented as exclusively military families or relatives. Said poll proclaims that the CIC has lost the support of military families for his Iraq policy. I guess if the "American people" they so love to talk about doesn't care anymore, they'll seek to highlight the military antiwar. Only one problem... just who were they asking?
Robison counters the poll results with some comments from Military.com, a website devoted to military families.... and ponders just how - with nary a whit of dissent on that or other webpages by military families - can this poll be an accurate measurement of military family support?
To be sure, self-selection by respondents yields unscientific results, Still, it's a little odd that a website that has a predominately military readership would have results that are completely opposite the LA Times/Bloomberg poll results for the question of whether or not the war was worth it when put to military members and families.
This poll which is being billed as a rebuke to the president by military families includes only 10% of respondents who actually claim to have a family member who is serving or has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Therefore, the number of respondents who had family involved in Iraq specifically is even less than 10%. So the people who are supporting family members in Iraq actually had very little to do with these conclusions as a whole.
But look again at the claims from Bloomberg and the LA Times. They claim the respondents were critical over Iraq, not Afghanistan. Let's be generous and guess that two-thirds or 100 of these respondents claimed to have a family member who served in Iraq. According to a recent USA Today article, over 1.5 million troops have served in Iraq. To try to take a poll with 100 or so respondents out of a pool of over 1.5 million is absurd.
There is no statistical validity and no way to assign any confidence to the conclusion that military family members of those who have fought in Iraq are turning against the President because of Iraq. The methodology statement notes that the margin of error for this subgroup is 8%. I would suggest it is quite a bit larger when you consider other factors.
It just may be that it is a massive effort to revive that dissent in order to make a current and important non-issue, again, an issue for the 2008 election. But I suspect before that happens, the US, Iraq and coalition will have to start losing ground overseas.
Certainly Pelosi is still trying to keep the anti-war base alive.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public's priorities.
"They like this war. They want this war to continue," Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.
"We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. "But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush's war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress."
A Republican war? This attitude towards the conflict in the heart of the Middle East is a dangerous one for America. Jihad does not single out it's victims via party affiliation. They will brutally murder not only Dems and GOP alike, but their own Muslim community for any alliance with the west.
Even now, al Qaeda plots to assassinate Musharraf in order to prevent him for assuming control and responsibility over Pakistan's nukes. Will the aspiring Dem candidates see this as a self-righteous power grab by a despot? Or as the much needed security for Pakistan's nuke arsenal, keeping it out of the hands of an enemy the liberal candidates do not wish to engage on any soil - nay, even acknowledge as enemies?
The Iraq conflict, and it's context in the broader war against the Global Islamic Jihad Movement, suffers from clear understanding because the American public, under the media's non-stop misinterpretation, still sees war only as against nation states, and not the stateless enemy who came to our shores on 911. The average American sees Afghanistan as a just conflict, and Iraq as a destructive error. They see no ties between the two as part of a larger strategy by the enemy.
And so, as the al Qaeda presence in Irag diminishes, so does the venom of the anti-war sheeple. And as memories and venom fade, so does the luster on the Democrat candidate stars... much to their chagrin. Thus, the desperate efforts to rekindle the antiwar fire in the headline news blurbs.
Yet the enemy knows no single nation to call home. The stronghold in Afghanistan under the Taliban's protection was broken, and they fled to join existing contacts in Iraq - operating there for years under the protection of Saddam's IIS and Ba'athists. Now they leave Iraq and re converge in Afghanistan/Pakistan and North Africa.
Barring major setbacks in Iraq, it will prove difficult for the liberal progressives to revive the heat of the antiwar issue for campaign purposes. They can publish all the polls in the world in the attempt to inspire the public to rage against military success.
But as the global jihad movement relocates its headquarters, and continues on with their agenda of death and their Islamic Caliphate, Americans will have to wake up to the real, stateless threat that will continue to wage war... no matter who sits in the Oval Office. Under these very real threats, manifesting themselves on a different Middle East sand dune, it may be very hard to manufacture dissent and antiwar at all.
"Congress authorizes war funds and sends bill to Bush"... sans withdrawal deadlines. All I can say is it's 'bout bloody time!
This doesn't, of course, preclude the liberal anti-Iraq Dems from displaying their idiocies...
"The effort (to change course in Iraq) is not over," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said after the vote. But he did not know what the next step in that struggle would be.
Change the course from succeeding to? Uh... that would be NOT succeeding, yes?