Editor & Pontificator

Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher — which spends time dissecting such issues as thorny journalistic issues as a missing hyphencalls on newspapers to call on the U.S. to leave Iraq:

It’s time for newspapers, many of which helped get us into this war, to use their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it.

  • Good article. Still, you are describing a potential – one that admittedly continues to grow into a reality, but a potential nonetheless. The hyperlocal citizen’s media you mentioned still have some convincing to do. I wrote a small post on my own blog about this article:

  • I’m sorry, I responded to the wrong article (I read it in my RSS reader, and something went wrong – please feel free to delete both entries, listed here)

  • Angelos

    The NYT has to give up their support for Judy “I saw the WMDs. No, Really. And the yellowcake from Niger.” Miller first.

    According to the WSJ, everything is just hunky dory.

    Doesn’t Greg realize we won? We put the women back in their place. We created a fractured nation under the rule of Islamic law, a third of which Iran will soon annex. Oh, and we’re safer too!


  • John

    E&P overestimates the influence of op-ed pages, especially with the growing influence of the Internet and the alternate information/opinion sources it provides to people in various parts of the country.

    Thirty years ago, when most cities had or were in the process of becomming one-newspaper towns, the expanded op-ed pages combined with the story selection editorially for the news holes could have a bigger influence, because other than the three networks on TV, there just weren’t much of an easy alternative for information. That’s no longer the case, and any call to promote advoocacy journalism in removing the U.S. from Iraq would probably be as effective as the op-ed pages of the nation’s major dailies were last year when the bulk of them endorsed John Kerry for president (Bush has more overall endorsements, but Kerry won the battle in terms of total circulation of the papers that endorsed him, and I’m assuming those are the papers which Mitchell is hoping will heed his call on the situation in Iraq).

  • EverKarl

    Yes, all of those Iraqis killed by Saddam — by WMD and otherwise — aren’t really dead. Iraqi women much preferred Saddam’s rape rooms. And the state to which Angelos refers — a federal state with provisions on the role of Islam weaker than you will find in countries like Egypt or Syria — is being created by Iraqis. And we’ve had no repeat of an event like 9/11 (knock on wood) — as opposed to the 1990s, during which we had the first WTC bombing, an attempted assassination of a former President, Khobar Towers, the Embassy Bombings, the USS Cole, etc. Our response to those events really worked out well.

    Of course, if the U.S. just packs it in, I’m sure that Iraq will return to the Utopia it was before 2003 and the jihadi’s will return home to raise unicorns. Because everything wrong with the world is the fault of the United States.

  • This crusade by Mitchell takes time away from his Blame America for dropping the bomb in WW2 crusade.

  • EverKarl–

    One thing that has struck me about the recent turns in the domestic debate over the War in Iraq is a developing consensus–agreed to both by groups that were orginally pro-war and originally anti-war–that the withdrawl of the military from Iraq is the ultimate goal of US policy.

    No one describes this goal as you do–“if the US just packs it in.” Everybody seems to agree that the decision is inevitable and desirable. The only issue is the timing: when will the Iraqi government be strong enough that a continued US occupation will do more harm than good to its authority?

    The President has stated that that time has not arrived yet. A strong counterargument by troops-out advocates is that resentment against foreign military occupation does more to fuel the resistance against the Iraqi-created state you refer to than a continued US military presence does to help suppress it.

    The existence of the debate is even reflected in your own post. You pessimistically suggest that a quicker troop pullout will lead to both restoration of the Baath regime and a persistent infiltration by jihadi militants, a pair of outcomes that seems to be mutually contradictory (since one of the primary targets of the Baath police mass-murder-torture state was radical Islamist militants). At the same time you optimistically hail the federal state with weak provisions on the role of Islam being created by Iraqis–a sign that the circumstances for a US troop pullout may be just around the corner.

    It seems that the timing-of-the-withdrawl debate is purely a pragmatic one not an ideological one. You insinuate that troops-out advocates are wilfully denying the existence of Saddam Hussein’s mass slaughter, use of poison gas, rape rooms. This seems tendentious in the extreme.

    Surely, in a political debate, newspaper editorialists, or anyone else, can argue that the President’s pull-out criteria are protracted and counterproductive–without having to stand accused as rape-room-deniers.

    As I said, almost everyone in this country seems to agree that an eventual US military pullout is inevitable and desirable. Let’s have the debate about timing amicably and democratically. There is no need to denigrate one’s oppenent’s motives.

  • Mitchell,

    Welcome to Earth. Sorry to hear that journalists on your world blindly adhere to government policy, instead of blindly opposing it like ours do.

  • owl 1

    So what else exactly is new? Three visable wars being waged at once. 1)International Organizations 2)Media 3)Terror (Islamic killers that DELIBERATELY kill civilians).

    War #2 stepped up the battle with their icon “Mother Sheehan”. Like Abu Ghraib, hundreds of pics but not one of the hog-rider’s anti-Sheehan protesters the next weekend. Not one thing is different except the intensity of the Media’s attack. They found something (the Mother) to hide behind to wage their war. So now they think it “matters” if they come out and call for withdrawal? Read E&P. Over the last 4 years. Now, do you see anything different?

    I think one of the damnest media tricks is to run 2 articles on the anti-Mother protest. Both showed pictures of Sheehan instead of the protesters. One Dad said he had removed a cross they had wrote his son’s name on………3 times. One (1)picture of him and once the media actually run a picture of……..Sheehan…….when they wrote about the Dad.

    A test? Watch Crawford this weekend.

    E&P has many fine warriors in action so they may rest easy, an Iraq Kerry has been born and the media is hot in action. Don’t think they need all this moral support building. Courage. Bravery in action.

  • Josh

    “It’s time for newspapers, many of which helped get us into this war, to use their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it.”

    I guess the problem with the msm is that they were just too positive about the war. Heh.

  • davebo


    Hard to say really.

    I think it was extremely telling that in the runup to war the Washington Times was the only major paper to report that the IAEA report quoted by the administration claiming that Iraq was within 6 months of getting a nuke did not even exist.

    One would hope a responsible media would have also called the administration on that lie. (Is lie to strong a word in this case? I don’t see how..)

  • Rob


    You perpetuate a still more interesting fallacy: that the “resistance” in Iraq is about the US occupation. That might have held a little bit of water back in the days when the attacks were mostly against US forces. Once the attacks started to target Iraqi civilians (even children), it became crystal clear that the “insurgency” was about something else.

    It’s about a free Iraq. Totalitarian Islamists cannot abide a free state. Freedom for the people means no state for them to control: no palaces, no hierarchy with them at the top, no women to subjugate, no oil revenue to confiscate. Democracy itself is the atom bomb in this war and we are half way through the process of dropping the Big One on Iraq.

    Supporting facts to this argument would be the numerous polls that show the Iraqi people themselves don’t want the US to pull out until the new government is capable of taking care of itself.

    And think about this: if even ONE percent of Iraqis was willing to fight the US to move out of their country, that would be an army over a quarter million strong. A civilian movement that large would overwhelm the US forces in the region (hampered by rules of engagement with civilians) in days. On the other hand a force of only 5,000 extremists (about a fiftieth of a percent) can wreak constant havoc on the civilian population.

    The idea that the “insurgency” is popular in Iraq is simply the propoganda of our enemies.

    The prosecution of this war has been far from perfect, but if you have any sense of history at all you have to see these things in the persepective of decades, not days. I’m sure there were days – say when the Yakusa was just starting to feel bold enough to openly attack the police – that the occupation of Japan looked hopeless too. Truman couldn’t have been happy when he discovered that he was going to have to rebuild Europe out of his own pocket. There is always plenty to criticize in the day-to-day events of a war.

    Put another way: look how hopeless the cold war looked in about 1975… yet we still managed to come out ahead.

    In the end, though, it’s always the big ideas – freedom, democracy, the end of tyranny – that are remembered. Twenty years from now, no one will remember or care whether the Iraqi constitution took a few extra days to come together or whether the troops came home in 30 months or 50 months. They’ll only care whether Iraq is free and strong, or ground under the heel of totalitarianism.

  • Ed Poinsett

    What Rob said!

  • Rob–

    I think we have much more to agree about than you think.

    It has been about 28 months now since the US invaded Iraq. You say “we are half way through the process” of Iraq becoming a democratic state. Presumably you mean that we can expect the occupation to end 28 months from now…around end of year 2007. Later you offer a longer timeframe–of 30 months to 50 months. Others disagree with you: Sen Russell Feingold, most recently, proposed end of year 2006.

    Whatever…my point is that our national debate appears to have changed recently into one over when that date should be. All sides agree on its inevitability and desirability. And your criterion, too, “that the new government is capable of taking care of itself” seems to be generally agreed on.

    It is all to the good that less noise and heat is being spent on why the invasion took place and more on when the occupation should end. We should all be encouraged that the national debate has turned pragmatic–how soon can that date be?’–as opposed to ideological.

    You offer the choice of seeing things in “decades not days.” I suggest that if we split the difference and see things in months or years, the US will be out of Iraq in that timeframe, either Feingold’s 2006 or your 2007.


  • Does Mr. Mitchell of E&P getting the picture on just how little editorials mean any more? The MSM tries to hide the sinking of its own credibility and report bad news about the politicians to drag us all down. There seems to be a conscious agenda to denigrate the USA. I guess the liberals who control the media will switch their tone and agenda if the US elects a Democrat in ’08!

  • Glad to know that the gloves are finally off. Of course, the notion that withdrawing from Iraq will somehow make things better is absolutely preposterous. Bin Laden said, on a number of occasions, that the one thing that convinced him to attack us was our withdrawal from Somalia.

    Thanks a lot, MSM. You’ve done your country a great service.


  • Rob,

    Sorry bub, but you’re WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

    It’s all about the oil.

    There is $2 TRILLION worth of oil under that country.

    Somebody, someday, is gonna control that wealth. And that person is going to be an Iraqi.

    That’s why Iraqi’s are killing Iraqi’s.

    There can be no other reason.

  • JonB

    Cindy Sheehan was arrested today at the United Nations mission of the United States. Not really surpising, actually, but I would like to raise a point: Her son was a US Soldier. If he was anything like I was while I was serving Canada, at home and abroad, I am certain that he would be damn near spinning in his grave at this moment.

    I would like to remind Cindy that we are not in a draftee war at the present time. Everyone serving the war on terror is a volunteer who, like me, signed a line and accepted the possibility of maiming or death as a result of following the orders of our nation. Secondly, if any anti-war protestor or Sheehan media stunt crew would actually take one week of their life and visit the troops in Iraq, they would see that most, if not all, are alright with serving their nation during this time of international unrest.

    I spent 2 1/2 years, voluntary and almost uninterrupted, in combat, in Iraq. I have served with some of the finest warriors on this planet who are willing, at any time, both internationally or domestically, to confront our nation’s enemies. The freedoms that you enjoy do not come without a price; they are a result of upstanding national morale values that, at times, are necessary to defend using the military resources of our country.

    For all the anti-war responders to this post, don’t waste the space spouting off about what you think is best for the US, the war in Iraq, or what you think the troops want. First, you have no clue what you are talking about. You watch CNN and think that you know all that goes on in that country on a daily basis. Media is only interested in selling bad news; it is the only way to keep their viewers interested and that, unfortunately, says too much about what world we live in today. Second, most of you who are writing are trying look informed and opinionated. When you visit over 30 countries, get an education, and work for prestigious organizations such as NATO and the UN, then write something. You will then have an international viewpoint that will be worth the time to read.

    This is the first time I have every posted on a blog. I apologize for my harsh comments in my final paragraph but I am tired of the slandering that goes on about the troops and the US that has no base whatsoever.