January 08, 2014
So Far, The Seattle Times Doesn't Think The Robert Gates Book Story Is Fit To Print

You have probably heard about the book, even if you rely on our local monopoly newspaper (or another newspaper with similar policies).  The book contains some sensational charges.

For example.

Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan.  The president was "skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail," Gates writes in "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War."
. . .
Gates offers a catalogue of various meetings, based in part on notes that he and his aides made at the time, including an exchange between Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he calls "remarkable."

He writes: "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political.  To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."

Naturally, the book attracted considerable attention yesterday, when the first, pre-publication reviews were published.  It may have been the most-discussed subject in the American part of the blogosphere.  Today, the Wall Street Journal made it their lead story, and published an excerpt.  The New York Times — which can't have been happy about these revelations — published a solid story.

British journalists thought it was important, too.  Without any extensive searching, I found stories at the BBC, the leftist Guardian, the conservative tabloid, the Daily Mail, and the conservative Telegraph.

A quick search at Bing found many more news stories.

But the Seattle Times did not, today, find this story fit to print.   (And that, in spite of the fact that there is a local connection.  Gates's permanent home is here in Washington state, and he wrote the book while living here, in Skagit County, north of Seattle.)

Why not?

Most likely because of something I discussed before:  Our local monopoly newspaper acts as if its main objective in political reporting is to comfort our comfortable Seattle-area leftists.  And there is no doubt that few of those leftists would be comfortable while reading this story.  (You could argue, and I wouldn't disagree, that they should read such stories, because they find them uncomfortable.)

No doubt the Seattle Times will get around to the story, perhaps even in a day or two.  But their reluctance to publish it tells us something about the newspaper, something unfortunate, in my opinion.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(Credit where due:  Hyper-partisan Seattle PI columnist Joel Connelly wrote a column on the book, a column that includes some of the more sensational charges.

As I write, even though the book is not available yet, it is the 24th best seller on Amazon, and the 2nd best among their Kindle books.)

Posted by Jim Miller at January 08, 2014 02:47 PM | Email This