Hamid Karzai and the Media’s Self Caricature

As you may recall, I commented a week ago on the remarkably rapid spread of the “Afghan corruption” meme in the legacy media following Obama’s brief visit to the country, with the ostensible purpose of dressing down and publicly humiliating its president, Hamid Karzai. In the interim the Afghan President has let it be known that he was less than pleased at being treated like a lackey by, among other things, adducing a highly public irritation at excessive foreign interference in his country’s affairs, and mooting the intriguing possibility of jumping ship to the Taliban. Of course, all this was highly predictable assuming Karzai had more spine than a wet noodle, which he apparently does. Obama’s media poodles are certainly aware of this, making their “interpretation” of the Afghan president’s reaction all the more comical.

For example, CNN’s Jack Cafferty is “shocked, shocked” at Karzai’s recent behavior, opining, “with friends like this, who needs enemies.” One of his more clairvoyant commenters chimed in, “Get out of that country and Iraq. Bring our boys home and fight terrorism from within our own country by protecting it from outsiders and keeping a close eye on who we already have living here.” It must be great for Jack to have readers who pick up on the narrative that quickly.

Over at MSNBC, Mark Rosenball gives his readers a multiple choice quiz on what’s wrong with the Afghan president. Knowing how perceptive my readers are, I’ll bet you can guess the right answer without even seeing the rest. That’s right! The correct answer is: C. Karzai is on drugs.

Of course, in every business there’s always that 5% who just never get the word. In journalism it’s usually the guys who write the Op-Ed page. If memory serves, H.L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore, referred to them as being one rung lower on the ladder than writers of obituaries. Sure enough, there was a piece entitled “The Karzai Problem” right at the top of the Wapo editorials on Tuesday that blurted out, “Hamid Karzai is proving, at least, that public acrimony between the U.S. and Afghan presidents will not be a one-way street… The question remains whether airing these differences in public helps or hurts the U.S. mission in Afghanistan… and it’s hard to see how public disparagement of Mr. Karzai helps.” How that got by all those layers of editors is beyond me, but the “Independent Newspaper” got back in step with alacrity. The very next day they rediscovered the essential truth that “Karzai is a bad partner,” and doubled down on the “corruption” meme.

Well, the national value added tax idea went over like a lead balloon, wars are expensive, and the Administration has to scare up some cash one way or another. So long, Hamid. It’s been nice knowin’ ya.

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