Friday, September 25, 2020

Almost Famous

For no particular reason, or maybe obvious reasons, I was reminded of this from a million years ago.
The memo was leaked this year to the Times of London, which printed it on May 1. The story, coming on the eve of Blair's reelection, generated extensive press coverage in Britain. In setting up his question to Mehlman on Sunday, Russert said, "Let me turn to the now famous Downing Street memo" (emphasis added).

Famous? It would be famous in America if the D.C. press corps functioned the way it's supposed to. Russert's June 5 reference, five weeks after the story broke, represented the first time NBC News had even mentioned the document or the controversy surrounding it. In fact, Russert's query was the first time any of the network news divisions addressed the issue seriously. In an age of instant communications, the American mainstream media has taken an exceedingly long time -- as if news of the memo had traveled by vessel across the Atlantic Ocean -- to report on the leaked document. Nor has it considered its grave implications -- namely, that President Bush lied to the American people and Congress during the run-up to the war with Iraq when he insisted over and over again that war was his administration's last option.
Later, after essentially not covering it for weeks, it was covered as "old news," or the justification for not covering it was that it was old news.

Russert gave the game away, it was "famous" but only "famous" in the US among the press corps, and some very online weirdos who read fine blogs like this one, who famously managed to not give it any coverage at all. Nice trick!