Howard Kurtz on the Rice nomination

As always, Mr. Kurtz’s analysis of media coverage is spot on. Here he takes a look at the difference between the coverage of Dr. Rice and Colin Powell:

Powell has always been a media darling, and you can tell from many of the stories that journalists admire the role he played in Bush World. He was the pragmatist, the moderate, the realist, pitted against the hard-edged, ideologically driven neocons led by Cheney, Rummy and Wolfowitz. (Some liberals, however, are deeply disappointed in Powell for not mounting a resignation in protest over Iraq and continuing to consort with the conservative crowd.)

Rice used to be a media favorite as well, but her halo has been tarnished. First there was the 9/11 commission, where she had to argue that the August 2001 report ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ was mainly historical information and not a big red flag. And in the bureaucratic warfare over Iraq, Rice drew criticism as an ineffective broker at the National Security Council.

Thus, instead of what might have been glowing coverage if the appointment was made a couple of years ago–brilliant Stanford academician, Alabama cotton farmer’s daughter, first black woman to run Foggy Bottom–the tone of the coverage is about Bush installing a yes-woman at State to replace the independent-minded Powell. The word “loyalist,” which crops up in most accounts, is not meant as a compliment.

I don’t mean this as a news flash, but when a president is reelected, he’s entitled to pick anyone he wants to run government agencies. And it is, well, not exactly shocking that Bush would want a secretary who agrees with him on foreign policy. As with everything else in this arena, the story is being viewed through the prism of Iraq.

Conservatives are starting to push back against what they see as the lionization of Colin and the diminution of Condoleezza. Michael Ledeen, on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, accused liberal critics of being racist and anti-feminist for not lauding Rice as the first black woman the way they praised Madeleine Albright when she became the first female secretary of state.

Amazing – but not surprising – at the differences between not only how Powell was covered versus Rice, but how Albright was covered versus Rice as well.

And then there were the disgusting “comics” depicting Dr. Rice’s nomination from Pat Oliphant and Doonsbury.

There were others but you get the picture (pun intended). Why are black conservatives denigrated by our media so often and furthermore, why is it acceptable? Where is the NAACP on this shameful treatment of Dr. Rice?

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