As you read this this New York Daily News op-ed, note how media cognoscenti and the McCain campaign are complicit in a bit of a conspiracy: they're both pressuring Barack Obama to change his position on Iraq. The media, generally favorable to Obama, may be unwilling participants in this menage, but participants they are. Many who cover politics have come to believe that the Surge is working, that violence is down, that signs of political progress abound, that Maliki is asserting himself as a sovereign leader, that U.S. troops are in large responsible for tamping down factionalism and instilling new cooperative habits among Sunni and Shia alike. Some press folks want Obama to appear more reasonable, hence the pressure -- come on, sir you have to change your position. Others assume that someone as smart and intellectually flexible as Obama would of course recognize the change and adjust his positions accordingly, hence the scrutiny on his every word. Some may feel a bit guilty for not sufficiently probing Obama before.
Now -- let's step back for a moment here. None of this media pressure is necessarily illegitimate. But it's always worth noting when the media zeitgeist -- the Surge is working -- moves into line with a candidate's zeitgeist -- the Surge is working. The McCain campaign, taking advantage of their parallel alignment with the media, has been dropping a line on Obama for weeks now, asserting that he would change his position, he has to change his position.
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