It’s been remarkable seeing the the media — not just pundits or op-ed writers, but straight news reporters and broadcasts — gather to attack Biden for ending the war in Afghanistan, despite the fact that we now know that the war has been a gigantic failure the Blob lied about the whole time without getting anything remotely like the pushback Biden is getting for ending their folly:
As Judd Legum writes at Popular Information, big outlets have almost exclusively turned to critics of the Afghanistan withdrawal in their coverage, and in virtually every case people who supported the invasion and occupation. A public relations specialist told Popular Information that TV bookers were straight-up refusing to have anyone on who supports the decision to withdraw. Indeed, as Eric Alterman writes at The American Prospect, many people now being given a platform to hector Biden about his supposed failures were not only directly involved in the catastrophically bungled occupation but were revealed in The Washington Post‘s “Afghanistan Papers” to have blatantly lied to the public about how well it was going. The Post itself is not innocent either — a recent David Ignatius op-ed compared Biden’s team ending a war to the infamous Vietnam-era “best and the brightest” who started one.
It goes without saying that until this outbreak of hysterics, the mainstream media had almost totally ignored Afghanistan for the last decade. Nobody except a handful of intemperate critics read the dozens of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reports showing the occupation was a cataclysmic disaster through and through. The main evening news programs on broadcast TV spent a grand total of five minutes combined on the country in 2020, and even before the pandemic barely more than that. As Jim Lobe writes at Responsible Statecraft, “the three networks devoted a total of only 362 minutes to Afghanistan in the preceding five years, or just two hours of coverage per network, or an average of only 24 minutes per network per year.”
It seems the media thinks it’s fine to flush trillions of dollars down the toilet and get hundreds of thousands of people killed in a spectacularly doomed occupation, so long as the brutality is relatively easy to ignore
As with the EMAILS! frenzy of 2015-6, the lack of coverage of the issue before or since is the tell.
Find me a news director going wall to wall on Our Abandonment of Our Afghan Friends this week who devoted 30 seconds of airtime to the destruction of the visa system the Afghans need while it was happening over the past few years— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) August 23, 2021