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How Beltway-itis Rots Reporters Brains & Distorts America's Political Debate

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A lot has been written about how, when reporters spend too much time in Washington, D.C., their brains start to rot, and they start spewing back insider gossip and stereotype that is so removed from reality, you think you are reading the rantings of patients in an insane asylum. Case in point is Washington Post reporter Dan Balz - one of the most intellectually impaired reporters working today.

Balz has made a career parroting whatever Beltway conventional wisdom is out there, regardless of how polls show it is totally disconnected from reality. He regularly writes declarative statements that have literally no connection to anything other than what he and his insulated cocktail party friends have decided in a vacuum is what America believes. Today, in his article about Hillary Clinton, there was a shining example of this.

Balz today writes that Clinton's "support for the invasion of Iraq when many rank-and-file Democrats opposed it show her determination to overcome the party's historic weakness on national security."

The problem, of course, is that Balz never once backs up his claim that voting for the Iraq War actually shows a determination to "overcome the party's historic weakness on national security" or that it will help a Democrat "overcome the party's historic weakness on national security." He just reports it as a fact, because he and his arrogant Beltway cabal decided it was fact. He doesn't once consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, what voting for the Iraq War really showed was a weak-kneed cowering by Democrats in the face of President Bush, and a pathetic unwillingness to actually stand up in the face of what the intelligence data proved were clear lies about the Iraq War. Furthermore, in his DC dementia, Balz likely couldn't even start to fathom that if you look at polls, a vote for the Iraq War is more likely to HURT the national security credentials of people who voted for it than help them.

Just look at the polls - not only do most Americans want the United States out of Iraq, 52 percent of Americans now believe the Iraq War made our country less safe.

Let's repeat that and put it in boldface for kindergarten intellects like Balz:

52 percent of Americans believe the Iraq War made America less safe. That means, many Americans could have serious national security concerns about the people who voted for the Iraq War, a war people think made America less safe. At the absolute minimum, taking a look at polling for 5 seconds (as Balz was clearly too lazy to do) should preclude a reporter from making a statement that voting for the Iraq War either showed a principled attempt to embolden a candidate's national security credentials, or will actually embolden a candidate's national security credentials.

Remember, this has nothing to do with Sen. Clinton's vote, or Sen. Clinton in general - she'll have to answer for her vote in her own way (although for the record, here's a piece of advice for Sen. Clinton and any other Democrat running for president in 2008 who voted for th war: when you are asked whether you would vote for the Iraq War today knowing what you know now, get some guts, don't try to parse it and have it both ways like Democrats always do, and give an answer like the simple one courageous Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel gave last year: "Absolutely not. I voted for the war because I was convinced we needed to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction. I am now convinced we were lied to." Polls show that Americans are now convinced they were deliberately lied to - and when Democrats deny that and try to justify their vote, they look like a bunch of pandering idiots).

This has to do with the built in biases of reporters and how our political debate gets completely warped by these morons. They are so caught up in the insulated Washington bubble, and so divorced from the blood-and-guts consequences of the policies they leave unquestioned, they don't even take the time to actually look at public opinion data, much less go out and interview people in the real world. The media in general continues to either ignore the Iraq War completely, or mislabel it as a political asset for those in Congress who voted for it/continue to support it - even though every shred of evidence shows that the opposite is true.

In a sense, it is really Orwellian. Reporters are embarrassed that they rolled over and died before the war, too scared to question what they knew were clear lies coming from the Bush administration at the time. Now, instead of reevaluating their tacit support for the war, the media believes that if they just keep saying the same thing and putting a positive spin on the war (like the Bush administration does) the public will believe it. Keep portraying a vote for the Iraq War as a political asset, they think, and people will see the Iraq War vote as a vote of strength, rather than a sign that those who voted for it had so little backbone they were unable to stand up to clear lies the Bush administration was telling.

Thankfully, the brainwashing attempt isn't going to work. As much as the media arrogantly looks down at the public as stupid, the American people are innately smart, especially when elites try to manipulate them. Such attempts by people like Balz to brainwash the public with DC's cocktail party spin only reinforces regular people's belief that most reporters in this country has become so pathetically flaccid, and so pathetically obsessed with sucking up to power, that all the media can do anymore is be a stenographer for the Establishment's propaganda.