President Barack Obama gave the media some 25 minutes or so heads-up today before coming to the White House briefing room to offer his dramatic announcement that, "as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over."
"Over the next two months," he said, "our troops in Iraq --- tens of thousands of them --- will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end."
"Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families," he announced, before adding dramatically, "Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."
No matter how you may feel about the President, it was certainly an historic announcement.
Had you been watching pretend news outlet Fox "News," however, in the hours following today's surprise announcement, you might not have even noticed that after 9 years and the deaths of some 4,479 Americans and injuries to more than 32,000 of them during one of the longest and most controversial wars this nation has ever waged, all U.S. military troops would finally be leaving "victoriously" in time for Christmas, just over two months from now.
After initially covering the President's briefing room announcement live, just before noon Eastern Time, here's what I was able to report via Twitter, as both CNN and MSNBC continued their breaking coverage with "experts," analysts, and journalists, and as Fox went into its next two hours beginning with a loud and dramatic "FOX 'NEWS' ALERT" right at the top of the hour...
In total, in the two full hours following the President's historic announcement, Fox devoted just one minute in the first hour, with Pentagon reporter Jennifer Griffin declaring that the announcement amounted to a "failure" for Barack Obama, and another 30 seconds as the 4th in a series of quick headline after the top of the second hour.
Remarkable. Even for Fox.
Now, had the pretend news outlet wished to cover the news critically, as that's all they are able to do, they certainly could have. At least they would have been appearing to give the historic announcement the air time it deserved.
As one critic of Obama's quickly detailed in an article published on the Internet following the announcement, the "promise" that Obama says he is meeting today was this, made on October 27, 2007 (video): "I will promise you this: that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."
"What exactly is a long-held campaign promise?" the critic asked, "Is it one it takes you a long time to keep? Does that work even if the promise was specifically what your first action would be? Was this somehow Obama's belated first action? Of course, not. This is compliance with a treaty that Bush and Maliki made three years ago, which the Iraqi government has refused to modify to accommodate Obama's desire to keep troops in Iraq longer."
Fox certainly could have noted all of that.
They also could have reported, as the same critic did, that "There will, however, be U.S. troops remaining in Iraq. They simply will not be employed by the 'Department of Defense' (as we call it, I'm not sure Iraqis call it that). Thousands of mercenaries will be employed by the State Department. Iraqi police will be trained to U.S. specifications on the U.S. taxpayers' dime. We will maintain the world's largest embassy. And I have to assume the CIA is not departing."
Of course, had Fox "News" noted any of that, they would have been in agreement with long-time Obama critic (and Bush critic) and peace activist and author/journalist David Swanson who was also able offer actual fairness and balance in noting that "Friday's announcement is indeed good news," and detailing how so many of the claims of war proponents have simply not come to pass as U.S. troops have been withdrawn over the past several years.
But none of that for Fox. Better for them, apparently, to just not say a word, as if all of it never happened. Cover Bachmann's campaign staff resigning en masse in New Hampshire; interview GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain on his 999 plan and his impossible abortion position; interview GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum about Cain's impossible abortion position (don't ask either of them about today's dramatic announcement, or about yesterday's that Obama's NATO deployment in Libya resulted in the death of a decade's long U.S. enemy); that Democrats are blocking a Republican "jobs plan" in the U.S. Senate; and that there is a new break in the "Baby Lisa" case, whatever the hell that is.
Better to pretend as if the Iraq War never happened --- the one that George W. Bush declared as "Mission Accomplished" some 3,095 days and thousands of dead U.S. citizens ago.
Don't even note, as they must have been tempted to, as Washington Post's Greg Sargent tweeted dryly: "I hope all those lefty critics of Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' sign will now admit that he was right."
That's what it looks like when a pretend "fair and balanced" "news" outlet runs into actual, historic news.