Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hoisted from Comments: Tom Ricks Explains Why He Did Not Write the Stories He Thought He Should Be Writing

Drew writes, at http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/08/tom_ricks_expla.html#comment-20780805:

This drove me nuts back on '02.

I worked for a Congressman at the time who, along with quite a group of similar minded folk, would give regular coordinated floor speeches at appropriate times in the build up to war asking the hard questions (this wasn't the "why can't we all get along Kucinich caucus" -- these were the hard-headed opponents to the war who were working closely with Gen. Clark and other national security thinkers).

After the speeches, we would then send personalized emails and cold call national tv and newspaper reporters alerting them of the types of questions that were being raised and then subsequently following up by asking why they weren't reporting about about the strategy, intelligence etc. questions we were asking. Obviously, we were all ignored.

Literally, I remember calling a guy who had had reported on national network news the night before that "no one in Congress" had raised certain issues related to some aspect before the war. He admitted that members of Congress like Rangel, Inslee, Doggett and others were regularly asking these very questions -- the ones that supposedly weren't being asked -- and that they had done so the night before his report.

He did not offer to correct his inaccurate reporting and did nothing further to represent what was going on in the House.

I think that what Ricks means is not that nobody in Congress was asking questions and making points, but that nobody in Congress whom Ricks's editors regarded as A-list players was asking questions and making points. Who do Ricks's editors regard as A-list players? At times I think the list contains two: Joe Lieberman and Chuck Hagel.

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