Enter a Parallel World at

Sometimes reading the corporate media is like receiving dispatches from an alternate universe–like the one Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan (12/02/09) lives in, where Obama “bucked overwhelming conventional wisdom” to send more troops to Afghanistan, in the face of a “stunningly large number of American thinkers, strategists and pundits who have been perfectly prepared to lose wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.” The version of Obama who was elected U.S. president on Kagan’s Earth-2 realized that he “might be applauded for losing in the salons of Washington and New York, the American public would not look on defeat so kindly,” so he stood up to “willingness of the intellectual and foreign policy establishments to accept both decline and defeat.”

Meanwhile, back on this side of the dimensional portal, an overwhelming majority of the intellectual and foreign policy establishment–as represented by the opinion writers for the real-world Washington Post as well as the New York Times–support continued war in Afghanistan, with only a small minority suggesting that it’s possible to bring home the troops (Extra!, 12/09). In this world, it’s the public that’s skeptical of an endless pursuit of victory, with a majority of respondents in recent polling saying they oppose the war (e.g., CNN/Opinion Research, 11/13-15/09) .

It’s fun to get a glimpse of Kagan’s what-if world. But maybe Washington Post opinion writers could spend more time writing about the real world, since it’s the one the rest of us live in.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.