May 25, 2004
Media scorecard: Old news is new news


Ah, Newsweek. You've got the Ahmed Chalabi story on your cover this week, as might be expected of any arbiter of mainstream journalism. It's quite a tale you've got, there...except, much like last summer's Joseph Wilson/Robert Novak story, the lowest-common-denominator media is playing catchup once again. And, as before, a few-too-many months after the fact.

From "The Rise and Fall of Chalabi: Bush's Mr. Wrong", Newsweek, May 31, 2004:

Much of Chalabi's dubious intelligence was funneled to the DIA through top Pentagon civilians. Under Secretary Feith himself signed a long and detailed summary of the intelligence linking Saddam to terrorists and WMD. The Feith memo, stamped secret, submitted to Congress and leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine last summer, reads like a conspiracy theorist's greatest hits. Interviewed last week by NEWSWEEK, Feith was a little defensive about his relationship with Chalabi. "The press stories would have him as my brother. I met him a few times. He was very smart, very articulate," Feith said. Feith allowed he has always been drawn to the stories of exiles who come back to save their countries. But he rejected the idea that he had been Chalabi's tool or dupe.

From "Blind Into Baghdad", by James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004:

On a Friday afternoon last November, I met Douglas Feith in his office at the Pentagon to discuss what has happened in Iraq. Feith's title is undersecretary of defense for policy, which places him, along with several other undersecretaries, just below Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon's hierarchy. Informally he is seen in Washington as "Wolfowitz's Wolfowitz"—that is, as a deputy who has a wide range of responsibilities but is clearly identified with one particular policy. That policy is bringing regime change to Iraq—a goal that both Wolfowitz and Feith strongly advocated through the 1990s.


"This is an important point," he said, "because of this issue of What did we believe? ... The common line is, nobody planned for security because Ahmed Chalabi told us that everything was going to be swell." Chalabi, the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress, has often been blamed for making rosy predictions about the ease of governing postwar Iraq. "So we predicted that everything was going to be swell, and we didn't plan for things not being swell." Here Feith paused for a few seconds, raised his hands with both palms up, and put on a "Can you believe it?" expression. "I mean—one would really have to be a simpleton. And whatever people think of me, how can anybody think that Don Rumsfeld is that dumb? He's so evidently not that dumb, that how can people write things like that?" He sounded amazed rather than angry.

What's cooking for the major weeklies, the national dailies, and the cable news networks in the coming months? Judging by the fleet of alt-weekly trendspotters with whom we consulted, odds are in favor that we'll see a scandalous news cycle or two about President Bush's alliance with the Christian right.

Posted in a Grave fashion.

Other Recent Items of Interest:

Make our "team" part of your "team"
jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
Guy Cimbalo is so cute! Yes, he is. Who's a cute little Guy? You are, you are! Guy's our very own star of stage and screen and is repped by Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm. Rowr!
What "They" Say About "Us"

"Humor so black you're afraid to laugh." - Playboy

"Low Culture gets more mileage out of headlines and photo captions than most blogs get out of endless pages of text." - The Week

"No irony slips past Low Culture." - Daniel Radosh

"what's happened to this site? it used to be one of my favorites. now there are never new posts and when there are it's bloodied and dismembered dead bodies... grave, indeed." - Some Guy Named Tim

"I don't get it." - Some Person Calling Him-/Herself "Cubeoid"

Text Ads, our nod to the Plebes
or, "Fun with Adblockers"

Recent Artifacts

The Archive Office (Front Desk)

Additional Information
Looking for an RSS Feed, or want to syndicate this site? Click here for that purpose.

Some of our older readers may be asking, "Whatever happened to that 'famous' two-column, Shallow and Grave-formatted version of Low Culture?" Rest assured, we've archived that motherfucker here.

This here site, though, was built and crafted by none other than Low Culture Design & Media Mega-Powerhouse HQ.