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Broder the Banal

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Message Michael Leon

David Broder continues his "exhibited loyalty" (to borrow a term from the Bush regime) to the GOP in a pair of columns in the Post this week, having long ago jettisoned honest journalism. 

The Post columnist, hailed as the “Dean of the Washington Press Corp,” has a column today dismantled by Greg Sargent in Talking Points Memo. 

Sargent notes Broder rushing in to defend the Republicans by knocking down a story in yesterday’s Times “that questions the political health of the GOP.” 

The problem is that Broder in his analysis of the Times piece omits crucial point after point from the text, the inclusion of which would render Broder’s column utterly vacuous. 

“Broder was so eager to attack the Times for besmirching the honor of the GOP that he snip-snip-snipped those inconvenient facts away,” writes Sargent. But that’s par for Broder.

In Monday’s column, The Fading Freedom Mission, Broder mourns that: “To be blunt, the Bush prescription for American foreign policy -- an aggressive effort to expand freedom and democracy around the globe -- has lost its credibility.” 

Gee, why would that be? 

You might think that Broder’s assertion that Bush’s foreign policy is as “an aggressive effort to expand freedom and democracy around the globe” might at least merit stating some factual basis, maybe a passing reference to an academic freedom index measuring civil freedoms brought about by Bush’s freedom mission, or perhaps a noting of the new civil liberties now enjoyed by people living in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, for example. (Wonderful places to live, if you like to criticize the government and current social arrangementsJ.) 

But no, there is no reference to human rights groups’ praise, or civil libertarians extolling the virtues of Bush. 

For factual support of his contention of the existence of a Bushian “effort to expand freedom and democracy,” Broder offers one fact: that Bush himself said so in the second inaugural address, so, obviously, it must be true, though as the piece notes, lots of Americans don’t believe much that Bush says these days. 

Yep, Bush did say so, over and over again. And this week we were reminded of this, thanks to the piercing insight and the typically Herculean journalistic efforts of David Broder.


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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at
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