For months, the media has attacked the president for failing to communicate a clear message on Iraq. And yet news of the president's major policy speech on that subject was met with almost complete indifference by the most powerful newspapers in America.
On Monday’s “USA Today,” the most read paper in America, there was no story about the president’s speech on the front page. There‘s was a great profile on Teresa Heinz though.
On “The Washington Post,” there’s absolutely nothing on the front page either. But on Sunday, they did have a story on Iraq that began this way: “President Bush will launch an ambitious campaign tomorrow night to shift attention away from recent setbacks that have eroded domestic and international support for his U.S. policy in Iraq.”
And, finally, when I looked at the newspaper I read every morning, for better or for worse, “The New York Times,” Monday night‘s speech received scant attention on Monday’s paper. There is a small subhead on the front page, but it's a subheading to a major story about a power struggle among three factions inside Iraq. This was the same paper who has run 30 negative editorials and only two positive ones on Iraq this year, and blasted the president for repeatedly not providing a clear blueprint on Iraq’s future.
The four major networks ignored the president Monday as well. They instead broadcast a reality TV show, a beauty pageant, a sitcom, and a rerun of the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
But John Nash wasn’t the only one suffering from schizophrenia. You could also find traces of the illness in newsrooms across some of America‘s most elite media outlets who said they wanted the president to speak on Iraq. And when he did, they turned their backs and ignored him.