It's Journalism 101, the very first thing you're supposed to learn: NEVER BURY YOUR LEDE. But we've done post after post on how the traditional media has strayed from what journalism used to be. David Sirota found yet another example and it's flat out maddening:
The Bush administration, congressional Republicans, and a faction of Democrats are very angry at Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) for his proposal on Iraq. What is that proposal, you ask? That's a good question, because most major stories that purport to be about the proposal are actually horse-race-style stories about the political maneuvering around the proposal. The Washington Post's crack coverage did this today, actually burying any concrete details of the proposal in the 14th paragraph of its story. Here's how the paper described Murtha's supposedly radical and controversial idea:
"To be sent to battle, troops would have to have had a year's rest between combat tours. Soldiers in Iraq could not have their tours extended beyond a year there. And the Pentagon's 'stop-loss' policy, which prevents some officers from leaving the military when their service obligations are up, would end. Troops would have to be trained in counterinsurgency and urban warfare and be sent overseas with the equipment they used in training."
The reaction from some Democrats was swift and Fox News-ish. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), of pro-bankruptcy bill and pro-CAFTA voting fame, fumed that Murtha's proposal "is a non-starter, an absolute non-starter" because he claimed - without any proof - that it "holds back resources from our troops." Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) breathlessly declared that Murtha "stepped all over [the] message of support for the troops." And Freshman Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who's major campaign issue was opposition to the Iraq War, said he is "a bit wary" of the proposal.
To understand the position these people are now on record as supporting by logical default through their opposition to Murtha's proposal, let's go straight back to the Washington Post's buried paragraph and flip it.
Howie Klein takes the nay-saying Democrats to task.