When Democrats opposed war in Iraq, they were often presented by the networks as principled statesmen. But on Meet the Press Sunday, NBC host David Gregory asked Ted Koppel to suggest Republican opponents of Obama's Libya actions are just a feckless mess:
GREGORY: Ted Koppel, what about the Republican opposition? I mean, is there, is it principled here? Or is it much more feckless and inconsistent? Because the--many of them wanted a no-fly zone, then said it was too little, too late. Then said, as Newt Gingrich said, "Well, no, you shouldn't have intervened at all." They either sound inconsistent or a lot more like President Bush, who became quite unpopular within Republican circles and the country at large on the war.
KOPPEL: I don't think you're hearing very much detail from any of the putative Republican candidates for president for good reason. They don't know any more than the rest of us know how this thing is going to turn out. And, at the moment, they have the luxury of being able to sit back and let things develop before they come out and actually take a, a hard position.
Now take Koppel's typically arrogant statement and apply it back on the media: they ALWAYS have the luxury to sit back and grouse and never have to take a hard position. They often present withering attacks without knowing "how this thing is going to turn out." (See Iraq.) Or they can switch positions if that's more detrimental to a Republican. Gingrich did seem to have trouble taking a position -- and so did President Obama.
Here was one other stupid media trick that Koppel pulled on NBC. Notice how the name of President Clinton is completely absent as Koppel describes how "the United States" messed up in previous opportunities for humanitarian interventions in Africa:
Remember Somalia. There was never a more humanitarian mission than when President George W.H. Bush, H.W. Bush, the elder Bush, when he ordered U.S. troops into Somalia to avoid the starvation of hundreds of thousands of people. Ultimately, that led to a dead Ranger being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. We pulled out of Somalia just in panic; and a few weeks later, when Rwanda happened, the United States was so shell-shocked that it was unable to do anything and 800,000 people died.
An under-educated viewer may have gotten the impression Bush the Elder pulled us out in a panic, instead of Clinton and Les Aspin.