George Packer has a brilliant post on DC journalists confusing perceptions with reality:

It would be strange if the Timess coverage of the financial crisis, which has been stellar, focused entirely on things like Richard Fuld’s handling of his P.R. problems while Lehman was going down. And it would be strange if the paper’s coverage of Afghanistan, which has also been stellar, focused entirely on things like Hamid Karzai’s use of traditional Pashtun rhetoric in his effort to ride the wave of public anger at the Americans. Imagine Karzai’s recent inaugural address as covered by a Washington journalist:

“Speaking at the presidential palace in Kabul, Mr. Karzai showed himself to be at the top of his game. He skillfully co-opted his Pashtun base while making a powerful appeal to the technocrats who have lately been disappointed in him, and at the same time he reassured the Afghan public that his patience with civilian casualties is wearing thin. A palace insider, who asked for anonymity in order to be able to speak candidly, said, ‘If Karzai can continue to signal the West that he is concerned about corruption without alienating his warlord allies, he will likely be able to defuse the perception of a weak leader and regain his image as a unifying figure who can play the role of both modernizer and nationalist.’..."

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