Rich Lowry of ‘National Review’: Liberal Media Actually Proven Right on Iraq

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By: E&P Staff

In recent weeks, many conservatives have started to turn against the Iraq war, but few have gone so far as admit that perhaps the allegedly biased (liberal and anti-Bush) media may actually have been right about the conflict all along. But in his latest King Features column today, Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, takes that bold step.

He’s certainly not changing his political stripes, as the following sentence reveals: “The mainstream media is biased, arrogant, prone to stultifying group-think and much more fallible than its exalted self-image allows it to admit.” But then he adds: “It also, however, can be right, and this is most confounding to conservatives. In Iraq, the media?s biases happen to fit the circumstances.”

Lowry explains: “Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right ? that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war…..Conservatives need to realize that something is not dubious just because it?s reported by the New York Times….”

He even tweaks Laura Bush for her hit at media coverage in Iraq last week, when she complained that ?there are a lot of good things happening that aren?t covered.? Lowry asks: “What are those things, one wonders?”

There’s more: “In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation?s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it.”

Lowry himself penned a widely-publicized May 9, 2005, cover story for the National Review titled “We’re Winning.” It opened: “It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq. Even as there has been a steady diet of bad news about Iraq in the media over the last year, even as some hawks have bailed on the war in despair, even as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has become everyone?s whipping boy, the U.S. military has been regaining the strategic upper hand.”

But today, despite his hat tip to the mainstream media, Lowry is still not giving up on Iraq, maintaining his call for a buildup that might finally provoke victory. The media “ultimately will be wrong about Iraq only if ? fully acknowledging how bad it is there ? the Bush administration takes bold steps to reverse the tide,” he concludes in the new column.

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