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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
NewsBuster vs. NewsBuster
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 23 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard railed against Keith Olbermann for taking a statement from a Democrat at face value:

Amazing. So, in Olbermann’s bizarre world, when a Democrat denies wrongdoing, he or she must be believed. However, he certainly doesn’t afford the same courtesy for Republicans.

Meanwhile, a few posts up from Sheppard, Mark Finkelstein was, uh, taking the words of a Republican -- specifically, White House press secretary Tony Snow -- at face value. Finkelstein got a chance to participate in another Snow press conference for bloggers (only conservative bloggers were invited, presumably):

I had a chance to ask a question this time around, and chose to focus on recent events in Iraq. After referring to the headlines that have been made by the recent arrest of some 600 militiamen in Iraq, I noted a lesser-publicized report that the Iraqi army had arrested a senior aide to Moktada al-Sadr, Sheikh Abdul al-Hadi Darraji. He was arrested last Friday in a raid on a Baghdad mosque near Sadr City.

I asked Snow whether those events signal that we have in some way turned the corner in obtaining the willingness of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in going after Shia militias, and if so, how have we been able to achieve this?

Tony's answer was optimistic: "The proof is in the pudding, and the arrest you just mentioned is of enormous significance. What the president has said to the prime minister is that you have to make sure that the law applies equally to everybody. If you're going to go after Sunni insurgent groups, you're going to have to do the same thing to Shia militia - and that's what's happened. And I think it's been pretty clear that the prime minister has said to the militias 'you know what? you're on your own now. You really cannot operate outside the law.'"

Finkelstein went on to list other "highlights" of the press conference, mostly boilerplate such as "Tony emphasized that there is no desire to federalize education, but hold schools accountable." Not a skeptical word to be found on Finkelstein's part, unlike his post earlier in the day in which he ascribed sordid, nefarious motives to Hillary Clinton's comments on TV, purporting to detect "insincere laughter" and "meretricious mirth."

We might take Finkelstein, Sheppard and Co. more seriously as media critics if they didn't engage in the very same behavior they claim to despise when Democrats do it.

UPDATE: Fixed link to Finkelstein item.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 5:51 PM EST

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