Top Five 2005 Stories the MSM hated

Another year has gone into the record books and year—end compilations, re—caps and summaries abound. Why people seem to find such comfort and satisfaction in these lists and round—ups remains a mystery, but nonetheless, it is so.

It is particularly fascinating to look back and see which news items didn't become the big stories of 2005. Herewith, then, is this writer's top—five list:

5. The Michael Steele garbage—dump scavenger hunt

As noted in a prior column, Steele is the Democrats' worst nightmare—a good—looking, articulate, conservative African—American with seemingly unlimited political potential. In what clearly seemed to be an effort to sabotage his possible impact on the upcoming Maryland Senate campaign, staffers from New York Senator Chuck Schumer's office were accused of rifling through the garbage to get hold of Steele's confidential credit report (presumably with the blessing of the national Democratic Party), with the apparent goal of finding and exposing embarrassing aspects of Steele's past. If the two parties' roles had been reversed, Ms. Pelosi's outraged howls complaining of the Republicans' 'Culture of Corruption' would have reached new heights.

At the time, Steele said he would press the matter, but the story got absolutely no traction in the mainstream news and was quickly forgotten. The story was AWOL in the New York Times.

4. The trial of Saddam Hussein

What a difference a decade makes. In 1995, the whole country was captivated by the trial of former NFL great O.J. Simpson, charged with murdering his estranged wife and her friend. Even though the Simpson matter had no actual bearing on the country with regard to our security, economic well—being, or any other possibly relevant consideration, the entire nation sat transfixed as the months—long saga unfolded, until it finally came to its improbable, unsatisfying conclusion.

In 2005, the trial of Saddam Hussein began. Here's a man who will be correctly documented by historians as one of humanity's most heinous offenders, yet coverage of the proceedings against him is reported in an almost excuse—me, second—section manner. It's as if the MSM is afraid that with an accurate presentation of Saddam's crimes, set within the proper larger context of the significance of the trial, the MSM will give legitimacy to both the notion of regime change in Iraq and the larger War on Terror, something they clearly do not wish to do.

3. The U.N. Oil—for—Food Scandal and Kofi Annan's [non—] Resignation

That no one has been held fully accountable for the slipshod, sloppy, incompetent, almost—certainly—criminal manner in which the greatest amount of money in the history of humanitarian efforts ended up in the pockets of people for whom it was clearly not intended is, indeed, a top—five Story of the Year. As quickly as each piece of this sordid puzzle came to light, that's how quickly the liberal media quashed it for fear of exposing the U.N.'s corruption, powerlessness, anti—American bias, and irrelevance. President Bush stated he would never submit to an 'international test' or 'seek a permission slip' from others when making a decision to protect America's interests.

If the oil—for—food scandal had forced Annan into a humiliating resignation, the President's position would be proven to be incontrovertibly correct, much to the chagrin of the fawning, liberal, international—approval faction.

2. The Great Economy

Unemployment is at 5%, lower than the average of the 'great' 1990's economy. Mortgage rates are still extremely low by historic standards, and the housing market remains very robust. Job creation is strong, with over two million new jobs added during the past twelve months. Despite the twin blows of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the economy bounced right back and continued to post strong GDP growth in the 4% range, attesting to the underlying strength of the economy and the correctness of the President's economic policies.

Yet in an effort to deny the President (and by extension, the Republican—controlled House and Senate) any credit whatsoever, the MSM continually ignores the excellent economic big picture. Instead, they seemingly attempt to portray all good economic news in vague, ambiguous light. The New York Times said on 12/27/05,

'Though final results for the holidays will not be available for several weeks, analysts and retail executives are projecting a respectable [6% increase] but not stunning season.'

Considering that gasoline prices shot up to over $3.00 per gallon after Katrina and consumer sentiment at the time fell just as quickly, the idea that the nation's retailers would even enjoy a 'respectable' holiday season seemed far—fetched in September. But to the Times and other MSM outlets, Republican economics are always a glass half—empty proposition. Interestingly, the 12/27 Wall Street Journal Online edition reported that Christmas sales increased a very strong 8.7% over the previous year, the same day the Times chose to grudgingly characterize sales as merely 'respectable.'

1. Positive Progress in both Iraq and the War on Terror

Hussein is gone. His WMD threat—whether giving them to anti—U.S. terrorists or building more sophisticated delivery systems with which to attack his neighbors again—is gone. The U.S. and the world are safer. The Middle East is more stable. The Iraqi people have voted successfully three times since January, to the apparent but undeniable disappointment of the liberal media and those leading the Democratic Party opposition to President Bush. The Iraqi economy is growing rapidly. Newspapers and television stations are flourishing. The vast majority of the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future, as they embrace democracy and emerge from decades of oppression.

Yet the MSM and the Democratic Party both find themselves reduced to fixating on arbitrary numbers of U.S. war casualties and actually highlighting American military setbacks, all the while transparently claiming to 'support the troops.' It seems as if that's their entire contribution to the conduct of the most important foreign—policy initiative in two generations. The importance of—and progress in—the War on Terror is the Number One most misrepresented story of 2005.

Another year has gone into the record books and year—end compilations, re—caps and summaries abound. Why people seem to find such comfort and satisfaction in these lists and round—ups remains a mystery, but nonetheless, it is so.

It is particularly fascinating to look back and see which news items didn't become the big stories of 2005. Herewith, then, is this writer's top—five list:

5. The Michael Steele garbage—dump scavenger hunt

As noted in a prior column, Steele is the Democrats' worst nightmare—a good—looking, articulate, conservative African—American with seemingly unlimited political potential. In what clearly seemed to be an effort to sabotage his possible impact on the upcoming Maryland Senate campaign, staffers from New York Senator Chuck Schumer's office were accused of rifling through the garbage to get hold of Steele's confidential credit report (presumably with the blessing of the national Democratic Party), with the apparent goal of finding and exposing embarrassing aspects of Steele's past. If the two parties' roles had been reversed, Ms. Pelosi's outraged howls complaining of the Republicans' 'Culture of Corruption' would have reached new heights.

At the time, Steele said he would press the matter, but the story got absolutely no traction in the mainstream news and was quickly forgotten. The story was AWOL in the New York Times.

4. The trial of Saddam Hussein

What a difference a decade makes. In 1995, the whole country was captivated by the trial of former NFL great O.J. Simpson, charged with murdering his estranged wife and her friend. Even though the Simpson matter had no actual bearing on the country with regard to our security, economic well—being, or any other possibly relevant consideration, the entire nation sat transfixed as the months—long saga unfolded, until it finally came to its improbable, unsatisfying conclusion.

In 2005, the trial of Saddam Hussein began. Here's a man who will be correctly documented by historians as one of humanity's most heinous offenders, yet coverage of the proceedings against him is reported in an almost excuse—me, second—section manner. It's as if the MSM is afraid that with an accurate presentation of Saddam's crimes, set within the proper larger context of the significance of the trial, the MSM will give legitimacy to both the notion of regime change in Iraq and the larger War on Terror, something they clearly do not wish to do.

3. The U.N. Oil—for—Food Scandal and Kofi Annan's [non—] Resignation

That no one has been held fully accountable for the slipshod, sloppy, incompetent, almost—certainly—criminal manner in which the greatest amount of money in the history of humanitarian efforts ended up in the pockets of people for whom it was clearly not intended is, indeed, a top—five Story of the Year. As quickly as each piece of this sordid puzzle came to light, that's how quickly the liberal media quashed it for fear of exposing the U.N.'s corruption, powerlessness, anti—American bias, and irrelevance. President Bush stated he would never submit to an 'international test' or 'seek a permission slip' from others when making a decision to protect America's interests.

If the oil—for—food scandal had forced Annan into a humiliating resignation, the President's position would be proven to be incontrovertibly correct, much to the chagrin of the fawning, liberal, international—approval faction.

2. The Great Economy

Unemployment is at 5%, lower than the average of the 'great' 1990's economy. Mortgage rates are still extremely low by historic standards, and the housing market remains very robust. Job creation is strong, with over two million new jobs added during the past twelve months. Despite the twin blows of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the economy bounced right back and continued to post strong GDP growth in the 4% range, attesting to the underlying strength of the economy and the correctness of the President's economic policies.

Yet in an effort to deny the President (and by extension, the Republican—controlled House and Senate) any credit whatsoever, the MSM continually ignores the excellent economic big picture. Instead, they seemingly attempt to portray all good economic news in vague, ambiguous light. The New York Times said on 12/27/05,

'Though final results for the holidays will not be available for several weeks, analysts and retail executives are projecting a respectable [6% increase] but not stunning season.'

Considering that gasoline prices shot up to over $3.00 per gallon after Katrina and consumer sentiment at the time fell just as quickly, the idea that the nation's retailers would even enjoy a 'respectable' holiday season seemed far—fetched in September. But to the Times and other MSM outlets, Republican economics are always a glass half—empty proposition. Interestingly, the 12/27 Wall Street Journal Online edition reported that Christmas sales increased a very strong 8.7% over the previous year, the same day the Times chose to grudgingly characterize sales as merely 'respectable.'

1. Positive Progress in both Iraq and the War on Terror

Hussein is gone. His WMD threat—whether giving them to anti—U.S. terrorists or building more sophisticated delivery systems with which to attack his neighbors again—is gone. The U.S. and the world are safer. The Middle East is more stable. The Iraqi people have voted successfully three times since January, to the apparent but undeniable disappointment of the liberal media and those leading the Democratic Party opposition to President Bush. The Iraqi economy is growing rapidly. Newspapers and television stations are flourishing. The vast majority of the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future, as they embrace democracy and emerge from decades of oppression.

Yet the MSM and the Democratic Party both find themselves reduced to fixating on arbitrary numbers of U.S. war casualties and actually highlighting American military setbacks, all the while transparently claiming to 'support the troops.' It seems as if that's their entire contribution to the conduct of the most important foreign—policy initiative in two generations. The importance of—and progress in—the War on Terror is the Number One most misrepresented story of 2005.