Monday, February 27, 2006

Blogs Superior in UAE Port Deal Coverage

If you've been watching the news at all, you've probably seen that the Bush administration is inexplicably selling our vulnerable ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates - a country which is muslim, arab, and home to 2 of the 9/11 hijackers. Port security being a big deal and all, this decision and the subsequent strong defense by Bush himself ("try and stop it - I'll veto") smacked of classic Bush administration bad politics and worse PR. While governors and senators from both parties scrambled to outdo each other and score political points, Bush was - as usual - steadfast.

So what really happened here?

By now, there are so many articles about the ports deal that it would be impossible to post a meaningful chronology. For a sampling, try this. You'll have to go way back to see most of the initial articles. The long and the short of it is, the MSM went nuts and mischaracterized and blatantly misreported the ports "sale" (which in fact is just a UK company being bought by a UAE company). Gobs of politicians, including '08 hopefuls Bill Frist (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) scrambled to score big national security points. Even now, to the average viewer, Bush is looking pretty bad.

But against this tide, you can find some counterpoints. What do you do when politicians and the media are going berzerk and it just doesn't add up? Read blogs, of course. For example, you can read this balanced post at Captains Quarters, which contains slightly more extensive quotes from Bush than simply "I'll veto" and also fails to make some of the mainstream media errors such as calling it a ports "sale", or attributing port security to the UAE.

Better yet, you can look in our own New England blogosphere: To warm up, what is going on with these liberals playing the national security card and forgetting all about their heartfelt opposition to "profiling"? Pardon My English notes this lefty hypocrisy. Better yet, MuD and PHuD clams things down a bit and links to Big Lizards rather more balanced analysis of the situation. Rhode Island's Anchor Rising adds yet more balanced analysis while acknowledging the obvious visceral reaction that many of us are prone to feel on first hearing of UAE involvement in US ports.

Perhaps most surprising of all - and I can't even believe I'm going to say this - is that the king of Mass lefty blogs, Blue Mass Group, takes a similarly balanced approach in two apparently pro-Bush front page posts here and here! Now, don't get me wrong - the self styled (and deeply ironic) "Reality-based commentary" at BlueMass is no stranger to your typical Kos-derived anti Republican juvenalia, but this is really something worth noting. These progressives are so pro-Deval Patrick that they cant even keep their fangs out of the presumptive D Gov. frontrunners neck, these suckers are actually agitating to take Massachusetts further left, if that can be imagined. But yet there it is, on the front page - a sane and reasonable analysis of the UAE ports matter. How easy would it have been to jump on the anti-Bush bandwagon yet again? And yet while the MSM and politicians from both parties are busy knee jerk panic mongering for anti-Bush and political points, respectively, good ol humble blogs are taking a deeper look. A more balanced look. A smarter look. Even on the left.

When something makes absolutely no sense at all, 9 times out of 10, your understanding is flawed. Don't understand what the heck is going on in this world? Read the blogs.


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