Alexander's Column

"We're losing..."

By Mark Alexander · Jan. 19, 2007

“[T]he artillery of the press has been leveled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted…” –Thomas Jefferson

Before an appointment to see my physician recently (which does not top my list of favorite Monday morning activities), I checked out the offerings on a waiting-room magazine rack. There were copies of Highlights, Readers Digest and People, but I wanted to read something from the mainstream media. At the bottom of the rack, there it was, peeking out from behind the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens – a recent edition of Newsweek.

Lifting it from the rack, I was greeted by this cover story: “We're losing, but all isn't lost.” Now, if you're thinking, “This is all about Newsweek's circulation,” you could be right, but you'd be wrong.

The article was, of course, another regrettable example of the Leftmedia's proclamations of defeat in Iraq. Such essays are packaged as “journalism” but are rarely more than thinly disguised political silage that could have been written by Ivy League campaign hacks with the Democratic [sic] National Committee.

Unfortunately, since this assertion appeared on the cover of a national print weekly, the unwitting may assume it's the truth.

On page three, Newsweek's index provided this subtext: “Winning is no longer a question; it's about avoiding total defeat.” Yeah, that's the spirit! The next page offered a teaser from the magazine's editor, Jon Meacham, in which he asserts, “To say that America is losing in Iraq … is not unpatriotic. Far from it.”

Oh, really? “We're losing” and “it's about avoiding total defeat” is “far from unpatriotic”? That may be true in New York, where Meacham now resides, but here in Tennessee, where he was born and raised, promoting such claims, while our Armed Forces are engaging murderous Jihadi foes abroad, is not just unpatriotic, it is downright traitorous.

Think about it: Newsweek is declaring defeat, and in doing so, emboldening the enemy and endangering our Armed Forces. Osama and friends must marvel at the support they receive from American media Leftists like Meacham – card-carrying members of the ignoble ranks of “useful idiots,” Western apologists for socialist political and economic agendas.

Meacham continues, “In this week's cover essay, Fareed Zakaria undertakes to [save us from total defeat] by charting a path forward…” The subtext of Zakaria's article notes, “It's past time to confront reality.”

Are we to assume that Meacham and Zakaria have far more informed and, thus, relevant insights about Iraq than all the military and intelligence analysts on the ground in Iraq, and all their support teams stateside?

What unmitigated arrogance – however, typical of the Leftmedia culture – to suggest, by extension, that our military planners have been sitting around on their hands awaiting Newsweek's arrival to “chart a path forward.” Apparently, Newsweek's editorial board received the memo from Jean-Francois Kerry about our “ignorant fighting forces stuck in Iraq” – and swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Fareed Zakaria is the editor of Newsweek International and an armchair quarterback, along with Bill Clinton's former lapdog George Stephanopoulos, on ABC's bottom-dwelling Sunday morning news show. He is not an intellectual lightweight, but the underlying premise of his essay is that the best we can hope for is a conclusion similar to the Korean War. However, Korea, like Vietnam, was a conflict of symmetric, not asymmetric threats.

Surely Mr. Zakaria can discern the difference, but he fails to address a most pressing question about where to hold the front line in the war against Jihadistan: Simply put, if not Iraq, then where, when, and at what cost?

The fact is that much of what is reported in the American media reflects not only the propaganda machines of the Left, but also that of our Jihadi adversaries. Too often the content from those machines is indistinguishable, and, arguably, it emboldens our enemy. (See the essay, “Memo to the American Media from Sheikh Muhammad al-Zawahiri” for evidence of how our adversaries view support from editors like Meacham.)

I wrote Jon Meacham and asked him to explain how he could justify such a cover story. I also inquired about a refund – not for my Newsweek subscription (you've surmised that I don't have one), but for the substantial tuition dollars I forked over two decades ago so he could attend a very fine private high school.

Jon is the son of a colleague, and I knew Jon when he was a polite, adroit teenager, a Young Republican cheerleader for Ronald Reagan with a promising outlook. It was a pleasure to invest in Jon's future, anticipating that would produce a good return for our national heritage and posterity.

I have not gotten a reply to my inquiry, much less a refund, but suffice it to say that I had far higher professional aspirations for Jon than overseeing the production of a national magazine that disseminates defeatist propaganda.

Perhaps he is a victim of Leftmedia sickthink as he has been employed by liberal publications since graduating from college. He was mentored by wealthy Leftists like the former publisher of the Chattanooga Times, Ruth Holmberg, (granddaughter of Adolph Ochs, who owned both the local paper and The New York Times).

Perhaps more subtle pathological factors contributed to his political metamorphosis.

One problem with most Leftmedia editors and writers is that scant few have ever sacrificed anything for the national good. Their careers, like those of their counterparts in the other “entertainment” industry, are steeped in privilege and arrogance. Thus, they substitute subjective analysis for objective reporting, assuming they must be the arbiters of truth for their readers. (Surely some of Newsweek's readers are smart enough to discern the truth for themselves, which explains the hemorrhage in their circulation.)

The men and women who serve our nation in uniform do so, almost to a person, with honor and humility. There is no more humble gesture than to stand in harm's way and offer one's life for the liberty of others, most of whom take such liberty for granted.

Arrogance and humility are like oil and water, which is why so few mainstream-media editors understand the character and spirit of true patriotism, or the ability of Americans to make good decisions when provided objective truth. Instead, the media endeavors to shape public opinion, and what “we're losing,” as a result, is the critical roll of a free and impartial press, what Thomas Jefferson called an “institution so important to freedom.”