Friday, October 21, 2011

Update to Libya War Post

Well, things have gotten better -- but not much.

A quick look at the archives of Britain's Guardian -- which did better than any US paper -- reveals far more coverage of Qadaffi's death than of the fact that the war was ongoing, or even that the rebels had finally eliminated the last prominent resistance in Sirte. And as late as a month ago, it was talking as if the military part of the war was over, while discussing an assessment of NATO "military success" as if that was the key element in military victory.

Meanwhile, Michelle Bachmann, a Presidential candidate, was quoted as saying 2 days ago (more or less) "Obama got us into Libya; now he's getting us into Africa" -- aside from the obvious but probably accidental geographical mistake, it seems clear she believed that the US was deeply involved in the Libya war and would continue to be involved in the near future.

This is just the commentary on the war; one might also cite the persistent failure to note Qadaffi's role in horrendous wars in Liberia, or the complete nonsense of any references to al Qaeda.

Still, the press did manage to finally understand that the war is really effectively over as of about the date of Qadaffi's death, that the rebels are indeed functioning as a government in all occupied territories, and that despite overclaims by the rebels, their statements about what was going on were far more credible than those by either regime spokesmen or remote reporters. Best of all, some news organizations finally got their reporters' butts out of their hotels and were able to confirm specific rebel successes.

Finally, let me recall this approximate quote from my previous post: "the war is not over ... at least a month, and in the worst case, two months more." It's a little less than two months, and here we are. In the meantime, I can't recall one news organization making that obvious projection. Meanwhile, Wikipedia still managed to provide me with clear, accurate news about the war ahead of all major news organizations about 1/3 of the time, by looking carefully at published NATO briefings.

I can't wait to see what our news organizations and politicians do for an encore. Probably forget all about Libya except to use it as a convenient stick figure for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. At this point, I am tempted to echo the advice of Professor Higgins' mother in My Fair Lady:

Stick to the weather and health.

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