But of course we’re not supposed to talk about this, anymore than we’re supposed to talk about why Phil Donohue got fired or why Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan both had fierce anti-war positions off air that they avoided expressing on camera.
I can’t recall how outspoken Matthews was, but anyone who was actually watching Buchanan on television during the relevant 2002-03 period in question knows this is a lot of nonsense. On the show that they hosted together, Bill Press and Pat Buchanan regularly inveighed against invading Iraq for the whole of 2002 and through the beginning of the war. I should know, since I watched it daily. They once had Medea Benjamin on as a guest, for pity’s sake, and that was a good deal more of an antiwar stand than certain current Atlantic bloggers were taking at the time.
I don’t doubt that there was corporate pressure on newsrooms to spin their coverage in the months leading up to the war, and Buchanan and Press was cancelled at the end of 2003, so make of that what you will. Of course there was pressure from corporate executives. You don’t need journalists to admit the exisence of this pressure to you–you just needed to watch and read the coverage. The fawning credulity with which most journalists treated the administration’s claims was everywhere, and it is hard to believe that it was the result of a collective lapse of intelligence and common sense. That makes it all the more bizarre that anyone would choose to cite Buchanan in particular as having been somehow reticent about his antiwar views on air, since he was one of the few notable exceptions to what was often an otherwise mindless pro-war stampede of pundits and bloggers that accompanied the months leading up to the invasion.