The Media's Editorial-Foreign Correspondent Split On Afghanistan

The reporting on Biden's retreat in Afghanistan is fascinating because probably for the first time since the Clinton administration, the media was providing fairly accurate coverage of a disaster by a Democrat president. Or at least parts of the media were doing their actual job.

“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Ben Rhodes had famously gloated to the New York Times. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

The Obama Whisperer was obviously right.

But the rout in Kabul plugged in foreign correspondents, some of whom are pathetically ignorant, but some who were doing this for a long time, who held prestige positions reporting from abroad, and actually did know what they were talking about. They also refused to carry water for Biden (they might have for Obama) and insisted, at least to some degree, on reporting on the disaster.

The marked split between the editorial and the news side was a rare breach. Call it the Jennifer Rubin - Richard Engel split.

In an era when the editorial side with its quest for narrative purity had almost entirely overwhelmed media coverage, the foreign correspondents broke the narrative embargo.

It was a significant and powerful moment that may not mean very much down the line, but should serve as a reminder that even in thoroughly corrupted institutions, there are classes of complicit people who will reach their point of having had enough and telling the truth.

That point was reached in the Soviet Union. It happened briefly during the Kabul collapse. 

 

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