Friday, May 06, 2005

I'm not sure what kind of press the British elections have gotten back in the States, but in Europe it's understandably a huge deal. By siding with the U.S. on Iraq, the U.K. pissed off a fair amount of people here on the mainland, and the elections have been viewed as its one chance for redemption.

To an extent, redeem themselves they did: Blair still won, but his Labour party lost 47 seats. Blair now commands a parliamentary majority with less popular support than any in history.

Predictably, there's been a ton of good commentary on the elections, but the best I've seen comes from Andrew Sullivan:
Tony Blair has barely survived a brutal vote of no confidence by the British public. Yes, the war was a major reason. But it's important to understand that hostility to Blair was not simply about the decision to go to war, but how he did it, how he appeared to have been less than forthright, and how this characterological duplicity reflected broader discontent with his management style on domestic issues as well.
The only thing I would add is that when it comes to "how he did it," the British media were also much more assiduous than their American brethren in terms of documenting the manipulation of Iraqi intelligence.

Why was their press so much more perseverant than ours? Well, there's really only three options, none of which is all that appealing. One is that the American press became too comfortable with or trustful of the Bush administration. The other is that the press did push as hard as the British media, but that the American public simply wasn't willing to listen. The last, and sadly most likely option, is that it was both.


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