Making Iraq Boring


John Dickerson thinks Bush’s new Iraq strategy is to try to make it appear as “boring” as possible, so that the media stops paying attention. That means no more dramatic photo-ops aboard aircraft carriers or sweeping statements about freedom and the like. Instead it’s all talk of reconciliation committees and public finance systems from here on out.

I’m not sure this is really the “strategy” here, but if Dickerson were right, it’s be nice to say with confidence that the media would never fall for this. Who knows, though? Already the so-very-well-trained Washington press corps is swooning over the fact that yet another top Bush advisor wasn’t indicted this week. Our hero. Meanwhile, I missed it when it came out earlier this week—too “boring,” perhaps—but Anthony Shadid reported that foreign veterans of the Iraqi insurgency are now returning to places like Lebanon, waiting to start up what “Abu Haritha” calls “a more expansive war beyond Iraq, a struggle he casts in the most cataclysmic of terms.” But we’d hate to rain on this week’s magical “Bush bounce,” so never mind.

UPDATE: Well, I was curious about this, and here’s evidence that newspapers really are slowly pushing Iraq off the front page: “In the first five months of this year, the [Chicago] Tribune placed Iraq on the front page 41 times in 151 days. But in the same period last year, there were 74 Iraq articles on Page 1, and 138 stories in 2004.” The same holds true for the New York Times, USA Today (which runs astonishingly few front page stories on Iraq in any case) , the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

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