In 2002, there were 23 senators who voted against the war in Iraq, which is now widely considered to have been a disaster. You wouldn’t know that they existed based upon news coverage of the current Iraqi crisis, though.
Instead, the mainstream media has chosen to invite the architects of that war on to discuss the situation with terrorist group ISIS, currently making its way across Iraq. According to Media Matters, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former presidential envoy to Iraq Paul Bemer, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol have made 16 appearances on TV in over the past two weeks.
When asked by the Huffington Post if anyone in the press had contacted him about the Iraq crisis, former Sen. Kent Conrad, one of the 23 who voted against the war in 2002, said “Not once.”
Conrad, a democrat from North Dakota, gave two reasons as to why this might be the case. The first he offered is that this is “simply the incompetence of the media.” The second is “the shrillness of those trying desperately to rewrite history to cover their own devastating failures.”
Of the 23 senators who voted against the war, only eight remain in congress: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Patty Murray (D-WA). Out of these eight, only Sen. Boxer has appeared on TV to discuss Iraq. On Sunday, she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that voting against the war in 2002 was one of her “proudest moments.”
McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, part of the much-heralded team responsible for what is now considered as the best pre-war reporting, has only had one invitation to discuss Iraq on television, and that was on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” a media-criticism program. Landay hasn’t been called by any cable news or Sunday political shows so far.
Landay says booking guests like Cheney and Wolfowitz is just an attempt at getting “clicks and eyeballs,” and even though they “got things so disastrously wrong,” the media is allowing them to “create controversy, and that controversy will be enhanced by whatever they say, irrespective of whether it’s accurate or not.”
Although the list of senators who voted against the war is a short one, those on it are out there, and several would be happy to provide their point of view. The media’s choice to ignore them almost completely shows that they are more concerned with ratings than getting things right.