Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blitzer pundit fumbles on Iraq

If you watch television then you know that pundits are fixtures on the cable news channels. But if you are going to have someone on to give their "expert" view of things, they should at least get their facts right.

My latest case in point, this morning's "Late Edition with Wolf Blizter" on CNN. Wolf had as part of a panel discussion Tara Wall, deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times. She was, apparently, trying to defend the Bush Administration's record on Iraq when she said that this year, for the first time, Christians in Iraq were able to celebrate Christmas.

The image of a religious minority being able to openly celebrate their holy day would be a powerful image of change - if only it was true. But, in fact, even during the bad old days of Saddam Hussein, Christians in Iraq were free to practice their faith - Iraq was one of the very few places in the Arab world where you could even buy a Christmas tree. The trouble for Christians in Iraq really didn't begin until after the 2003 invasion when in the power vacuum that followed, Sunni and Shiite extremists were able to run amok. 2008 was the first year that Iraq officially recognized Christmas, as a national holiday, but that is a very different thing than to imply that before Christians in Iraq had to hide their faith and celebrations for fear of persecution, like Ms. Wall tried to do.

I don't have a problem with the cable news channels putting on pundits from the left, right or middle, it just would be nice if these "experts" had a clue as to what they were talking about.

A final note to Mr. Blitzer, I am available for booking.
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