Bush Averts Ears to Bad Iraq News

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The Bush White House and its right-wing allies apparently don't want to hear any bad news or differing opinions on Iraq. Talk about heads in the sand.

Their outlet of preference, of course, is Fox. On that channel, they are assured of comforting news and blistering attacks on critics. The news from Roger Ailes and company is frequent cheerleading for anything Republican.

Evidence of the Bush crowd's lack of interest in anything negative abounds.

There is often criticism of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and from time to time the networks for what the White House deems as being too tough.

Funny, I heard no criticism from Republicans when President Clinton faced daily reporting on his troubles and he was outraged about it.

Yes, the editorial pages of many newspapers have been harsh on Bush's handling of the war, especially the new strategy called surge. However, the straight reporting of roadside bombings, suicide car missions, and sniper shootings of U.S. servicemen is news. After all, war isn't pretty.

Vice President Cheney wants to hear none of it. He refers to the "enormous successes" in that devastated country and rebukes those who question his version of the war.

Memo to the vice president: Let's not forget that a score or more of journalists have been killed and others seriously injured while covering the war and seeking the truth of what is going on there.

The Bush team is approaching a bunker mentality these days. Everyone in the media, it seems, is against it. Press Secretary Tony Snow is the front man and likes to lecture the press with his own analysis. (Remember that Snow comes to us from a Fox job.)

Even Bush 41, who has a thicker skin than his eldest son, got into the act last week. He spoke at a reception at the White House in honor of the late Hugh Sidey of Time magazine and couldn't resist some shots at the press. He praised Sidey and compared his evenhanded coverage with what he called cynical treatment today. Indeed, Sidey was an elegant writer, but he was more interested in history than in day-to-day coverage.

Bush 41 made a point of how he and Barbara Bush ignored the commentary on television news while the set was on in their home in Houston.

Sorry about that, Mr. President, but Harry Truman was right: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I'd bet Harry could have put it in a lot more colorful language, too.