Remember how opponents of the Bush administration, like the New York Times, opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom in part because of the effect it might have on Middle Eastern stability? Well, now that it has happened, the Times has no trouble spinning the positive developments of the last few weeks into "threats of instability," from Iranian nuclear power to Iraqi violence. But there's one thing the Times is certain that the administration isn't responsible for: anything good.
Administration officials say Mr. Bush's calls for democracy in the region have been secondary to the ripple effect of the elections, however imperfect, held by Palestinians and Iraqis in January, and the open, messy but still invigorating political jockeying among those peoples after the balloting.Ah, I see. So the possibility for Egyptian and Lebanese democracy has nothing to do with Bush. It's the Iraqi elections that deserve the credit. Remind me again what prompted those?
"You can't dismiss the argument that the themes we're hearing from Washington are helping to cause changes in the Middle East," a senior State Department official said. "But you have to give the main credit to the elections in Palestinian areas and in Iraq. The Iranians, the Syrians and the Iraqis have to be reacting to the elections."
Someone reading this "News Analysis" in a vacuum would think that they just sprung up spontaneously. So you can "give the main credit" to these "elections." That's fine. That's safe. As long as you don't give it to Bush, because lord knows that all the people who work at the Times are smarter and more sophisticated than he is.
Incidentally, there elections in Iraq and Palestine may have gone smoothly, Syria may be forced to end its occupation of Lebanon, and Egypt may hold multiparty elections, but that doesn't mean that we -- assuming we work at the Times -- can't report on all the reasons the Bush administration had nothing to do with it, according to "administration officials," "a senior State Department official," "many experts," "some European diplomats," "an American official," "Arab officials," and of course "an Arab diplomat." All of whom are perfectly willing to steer plaudits away from the president... as long as they can do so anonymously.
This is journalism.