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November 28, 2005

I Write Letters

Like most Americans, I spent the Thanksgiving weekend writing a letter to Washington Post columnist David Broder.

I wonder if he'll reply. If you feel like contacting him yourself on this subject, his email address is davidbroder[at]washpost[dot]com

Mr. Broder,

I have a question regarding this exchange today between yourself and Tim Russert on Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: David Broder, is it possible for official Washington--the president, Democratic leaders, Republican leaders--to arrive at common ground, a consensus position on Iraq?

MR. DAVID BRODER: It's possible, Tim, but they won't get there by arguing about who did what three years ago. And this whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant. The public's moved past that.


What I'm wondering is this: on what you base these statements? The reason I ask is because the evidence of which I'm aware indicates exactly the opposite—that not only do a majority of Americans believe the Bush administration intentionally misled us on Iraq, but a similar majority believe this may rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

See, e.g., the following representative polls:

1. ABC News

On Iraq, a new high—55 percent—say the Bush administration intentionally misled the American public in making its case for war.

2. Zogby

The poll found that 53% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."


Thanks in advance for your attention to this. I understand you must be quite busy, but as this is a very serious issue, I hope you'll be able to take the time to respond.

best regards,
Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at November 28, 2005 09:19 AM | TrackBack

P.S. How the fuck did you get your job, Mr. Broder?

Best Wishes!

Posted by: Sully at November 28, 2005 10:08 AM

Pundits are paid to have opinions about and on behalf of the public -- to take the actual opinion of real non-pundit-Americans into account would be to exceed their God-given mandate as pundits.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at November 28, 2005 02:05 PM

Exactly! There's nothing more despicable than somebody barging into your home on a Sunday morning to tell you lies!!

... OK maybe there are a few things more despicable than that.

Be sure to let us know if he replies!

Thanks, Jon.

Posted by: Winter Patriot at November 28, 2005 07:52 PM

Haven't you ever heard of the memory hole? I've already forgotten how we got into, uh, Iraq. (I'm practicing up for summer of '06 when Our Leader, every GOP in Congress, and of course our Hackatron friends on TV will tell us that there is no Iraq, just a shining vista of more tax cuts for our betters.)

History is bunk. Except when it makes for good visuals.

Posted by: Tirebiter in Sector R at November 29, 2005 08:15 AM

Broder caught a dose of Woodarditis.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at November 29, 2005 05:18 PM

Right! And Miller caught a case of Hearstrophy.

Posted by: Sully at November 29, 2005 05:22 PM

Haven't you ever heard of the memory hole?

Exactly. The public's moved past that. We've always been at war with Iraq.

Posted by: abb1 at November 30, 2005 03:57 AM

Maybe you'll get a reply when I get replies to my Broder letters--i.e., when Hell freezes over.

Here are my letters to Broder--not as brief or amusing but big in the rage department. Note the dates. Nothing has changed. Broder is the dean of Washington sludge buckets. They'll never change and should merely be shitcanned. Let them end their worthless lives covering the police blotter for the East Podunk Community Weekly.

April 1, 2005

Dear Mr. Broder:

Has the air up there on Olympus grown so thin that you are deprived of memory and reason? I read your column in today's WaPo and, as St. Ronnie would say, "There you go again!"

While it is gratifying to read that you "feel a sense of shame and embarrassment" at the media's abysmal performance in reporting this presidential campaign, I also note that nowhere do you descend from your throne as "dean" of Washington correspondents to take personal responsibility for acting, all too often, as just another conduit of administration lies and spin to your defenseless readership. [As one reminder, I append my last letter to you decrying your shameless laziness in reporting and analysis of the administration's pre-9/11 anti-terrorism efforts.]

Your keen analysis of today's problem leads you to classic buck-passing. According to you, it is not those "senior journalists," yourself included, who are to blame for their willful blindness, but their news organizations whose standards have been regrettably "compromised," all due to a "loss of confidence." Well, who is doing the compromising, if not those same senior journalists, yourself included?

It is not good enough to now point the finger at "stars imported from the political world" for subverting your vaunted culture and values. It is telling that your complaint seems to be that these "stars" were offered the "most prestigious and visible jobs"--and presumably the most lucrative. Can that be the reason why all those old pros of the newsroom, complete with fedoras and ink-stained fingernails, have parked their professionalism in the crapper and rushed to join the administration's Hallelujah Chorus?

The fact is that it is the old pros like yourself who have muzzled themselves regarding the degradation of our national news organizations. You still do not name names. You still speak in generalities. You still shrink from speaking truth to power. You still adopt the Olympian attitude that it's all beneath you. What is beneath you is a crumbling mountain of lost credibility and "senior journalists," yourself included, have yourselves to blame. While you are still in a position to be heard, to perhaps make a difference, you have almost all chosen to be enablers for the liars, spinners and vicious poseurs who dominate our political discourse today.

April 10, 2004

Dear Mr. Broder:

I am continually amazed at the Washington pundit's desire to give the Bush administration a pass by glossing over or even omitting inconvenient facts that would disturb the deep pond of received wisdom.

In your fourth graph, you say the Bush team "inherited a faltering anti-terrorism campaign" from the Clinton administration. Please explain how the Clinton team's campaign was faltering. It had Dick Clarke's plan ready to present to the incoming administration. It had taken a more wide-ranging series of actions and preparations than either Reagan or Bush I. It had the full attention and support of the president and his highest cabinet officials. I would say the "faltering" commenced on Jan. 20, 2001.

You describe Rice as "at her most impressive" as she proceeded to spin, obfuscate, distort, lie and run out the clock with a mass of verbiage to describe precious little action. The only impressive thing about her performance was that she never managed to run out of hot air.

That same graph goes on to say that "for the sake of continuity in day-to-day operations, it carried over" the Clinton counterterrorism team. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say they had no one on the Bush team as qualified or experienced? Wouldn't it be more complete to add that they downgraded the importance of counterterrorism planning by downgrading Clarke and his team and by cutting budgets for counterterrorism in the FBI?

Paragraph four is a virtual goldmine for ratification of White House spin and talking points. You close it by writing that the administration "launched its own structured effort to devise a more aggressive long-term strategy" against al Qaeda. Isn't it true that the effort wasn't precisely "launched" as it was shelved, put on the back burner, and given lip service rather than action? Isn't it also true that the "aggressive long-term strategy" that finally emerged, just days before the attacks, hardly differed in any significant way from the plan that was handed to Condi Rice and Vice President Cheney by Dick Clarke just weeks after they took power?

Perhaps the title of your piece should be more properly titled "Incurious Broder." Aren't you just a little embarrassed that you enjoy the invaluable opportunity to opine on some of the most important editorial pages in the nation, and you squander it to regurgitate White House propaganda and spin? When are you and your journalistic brethren going to understand that your ethical duty to the public is to report the whole truth, however unpleasant for those in power and disruptive to the cozy arrangements of access?

Posted by: Max at December 1, 2005 11:30 AM