Friday, August 04, 2006

Thomas Friedman's Moving Deadline

F.A.I.R., keeping it real:

Tom Friedman is considered by many of his media colleagues to be one of the wisest observers of international affairs. "You have a global brain, my friend," MSNBC host Chris Matthews once told Friedman. "You're amazing. You amaze me every time you write a book."

Such praise is not uncommon. Friedman's appeal seems to rest on his ability to discuss complex issues in the simplest possible terms. On a recent episode of MSNBC's Hardball, for example, Friedman boiled down the intricacies of the Iraq situation into a make-or-break deadline: "Well, I think that we're going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months—probably sooner—whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we're going to have to just let this play out."

That confident prediction would seem a lot more insightful, however, if Friedman hadn't been making essentially the same forecast almost since the beginning of the Iraq War. A review of Friedman's punditry reveals a long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.

The piece goes on to document how Friedman's been declaring "the next six months in Iraq are the most crucial ones" for years.

As Tom Friedman is not a policy maker or a public servant, I don't think his moving deadline qualifies as duplicitous obfuscation. But it's definitely sloppy journalism, and does his vaunted Global Brain a disservice.


Blogger Jeff said...

The price of gas, clothes and housing keep going up, up, up, but mustache rides are still free after all these years!

4:55 PM  

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