Tuesday, June 13, 2006

# Posted 12:36 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: Gen. George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, was the featured guest on CBS. Casey was also supposed to be the headliner on NBC, but he cancelled before the show and was replaced on short notice by Gen. (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey. After McCaffrey there was a panel on which none other than Markos "Kos" Moulitsas was the featured guest, balanced by Byron York of NRO and a couple of journalists. Paul Bremer led off on ABC, followed by Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the respective chairs of their parties' House campaign committees.
Casey: B-. Softballs from Schieffer allowed Casey to be vague, which didn't reassure me in the least about the situation in Iraq.

McCaffrey: B. He drew a balanced, intelligent picture of the situtation in Iraq. Most importantly, he sounded honest. Then again, he is retired.

Kos: B. Being on television is a lot harder than it looks, so I'm going to give Kos a bunch of points just for being well-spoken despite his relative inexperience. However, he was spinning furiously in attempt to portray his wing of the Democratic party as non-ideological instead of firmly to the left. In fact, he went so far that some of his readers might he was afraid to admit what he really stands for.

Byron York: B+. Reasonable.

Paul Bremer: B-. His answers were vague. Stephanopoulos' questions were vague. And I realized I didn't have the necessary information at my fingertips to know what they didn't. Even though Iraq is still in the headlines every day, I feel like I don't even know even a fraction as much as I would want to know about the situation on the ground if I were researching it for my dissertation or a similar project. Naturally, I'm sure that certain critics will find that admission to be long overdue. But it seems that people on every side of the debate are working off of a very slim knowledge base.

Reynolds: B-. Spin that mostly sounded like spin.

Emanuel: B-. Spin that always sounded like spin.

And the hosts:
Schieffer: B-. You've got to be ready when a four-star general comes on your show. You know he won't say anything overtly political, but you have an unprecedented chance to demand very specific information about what the military is actually doing in Iraq. Schieffer didn't come close.

Russert: B-. Russert couldn't decide whether McCaffrey (a paid analyst for NBC) was a guest or a colleague. He didn't know whether to ask tough questions for just be polite. Also, Russert wasn't prepared for Kos, whom he didn't confront with even a single quotation from Kos' blog.

Stephanopoulos: B. His questions for Bremer were vague, but he did a good job with Reynolds and Emanuel.
Until next week...
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Everybody got a B David?

C'mon, now have you gone soft and PC, everybody can't be vanilla.


Uncle J
You'd go a little harder on Mr York if you had read his National Review column, in which he bemoans the fact that one of Kos' most obnoxious statements "has never been mentioned in the Washington Post... or been the topic of conversation on any major television program." Gee, Byron, if only there were a place where a guy like you could meet the press, maybe you could bring it up. Of course Russert's not going to go after him, he's still raising money for the party.

Speaking of information at one's fingertips, why don't these shows have 20 interns Googling the hell out of everything the guests say? Instead of having statements ridiculed on the blogs in the week after, let the tv boys ridicule them in real time.
"Very specific information about what the military is actually doing in Iraq" is not the sort of thing to be broadcast on television for the world (and our terrorist enemies) to hear.
Alan, I disagree. There is an important distinction between detailed information and classfied information. If you really read every press report, you would know which towns had better-trained police forces, which counter-insurgent operations were happening in which provinces and, to a certain extent, how well those operations were going.

These things are not secret. They are just well below the front-page radar.

And Jimbo, I appreciate your point about grade inflation. In general, I hand out very few 'C's and even fewer 'A's. Because it is so hard to be fair with grades on such a partisan subject, I tend not to deviate from the mean unless I feel strongly about someone's performance.
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