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Boot's defense of mainstream media

January 14, 2007

Re "Don't blame the media," Opinion, Jan. 10

You have to admire a public thinker who, in print, changes his mind. Max Boot shows intelligence and courage in distancing himself from his original perception that media "bias toward sensationalism distorted public understanding of the war." He now directs our attention to those truly responsible for creating bias -- people in "the upper echelons of the administration and the armed forces."

We need more thinkers like Boot, who are not knee-jerk adherents of either the left or right.

DOUG LASKEN

Woodland Hills

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Boot has engaged in the most classic liberal counterpunches at conservatives, and I'm angry. He uses the tried-and-true method of opinionating that a duck isn't a duck, really. History has shown that the media defeated this country in Vietnam, and it is doing absolutely everything it can to defeat us in Iraq, including doctoring photos and releasing top secrets to the enemy.

Also, please advise Boot that the term "MSM," or mainstream media, is no longer in fashion. His and The Times' ilk are now referred to as the "enemedia." I hope the Internet brings an end to the old guard print media.

DAVE JONES

Cincinnati

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Boot is now an unparalleled defender of the journalistic press corps. The Times' biggest Bush cheerleader says we shouldn't have given such credence to the president and his staff; that instead we should have listened to the reporters on the ground and that they are being unfairly vilified by the right. So now it's opposite day in Boot's world -- the sky is green, the grass is blue, President Bush is wrong and Boot is the defender of the MSM. How Orwellian can you get? Ignorance is bliss.

SCOTT W. HUGHES

Westlake Village

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There's no doubt the Bush administration sent troops to Iraq based on faulty intelligence and second-rate planning. But Congress must share in the blame too, for giving the president the right to proceed. That's the short answer for those who opposed the war from its inception and do so today.

But what of those who were originally against the war but changed their minds and decided that being rid of Saddam Hussein wasn't such a bad idea? For some of us, the idea of a defeat in Iraq is most unappealing. I'd shorten Boot's definition of the administration's goals in Iraq to "a free and democratic Iraq."

For that to happen, the U.S. might consider one of former National Security Council advisor Brent Scowcroft's prescriptions: "Withdrawing combat troops should not be a policy objective, but rather, the result of changes in our strategy and success in our efforts."

Blaming the media, the president or others for failure in Iraq is a waste of time. It's just a way to set up a boogeyman.

PAUL KELLOGG

New York

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