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Taking the Bait | The Nation

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Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Taking the Bait

It's disturbing how easily some in the mainstream media still fall for White House spin.

According to the media narrative following President Bush's speech, the 2006 midterms will now be decided by how to try suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, not the war in Iraq.

"With less than nine weeks until congressional elections, the president turned the topic from the war in Iraq and complaints about stagnant wages and rising health care costs to the only major area in which Americans continue to give him and the GOP high marks," wrote Susan Page of USA Today in a flattering news analysis.

"The President's detainee gambit...is given universal praise by the Gang of 500 for ensuring the fall debate will be more about who can keep America safer from terrorists, and, thus, for putting the Democrats on the defensive," opined ABC's The Note, under the headline "'W' is for 'Winner.'"

No, Bush tried to change the subject.

Fifty-five percent of respondents in a recent CNN poll said the war in Iraq has made the US less safe and more vulnerable to another terrorist attack. Fifty-three percent believe Iraq is separate from the war on terror. "One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror," Bush told Katie Couric yesterday.

So naturally Bush will talk about terror. But when he does, you'd expect the media--as a reflection of the American people--to remind him of the 135,000 troops that are still in Iraq instead of echoing RNC talking points.

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