New York Times columnist Paul Krugman asks why the media allowed Bush such an effusive portrayal of his adminstration for so long, as well as such an uncritical look at its manipulative efforts in its rush to war in Iraq, et cetera.

People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness.

But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened?

The answer, of course, is that the straight shooter never existed. He was a fictitious character that the press, for various reasons, presented as reality.

If the media were a Cabinet official, it's job would certainly be on the line by now.


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