NBC News’ “Civil War” Label Draws Fire

NBC News took the bold step of declaring that there was a “civil war” in Iraq, a move that the network’s Matt Lauer announced on this morning’s “Today” show. Neither the American nor the Iraqi governments label the situation as such, but NBC says it relied on military advisers like Barry McCaffrey in making the decision. Don Imus called network executives “nitwits” for doing so, and the White House rejected the label. Said a spokesman for the National Security Council: “The violence is primarily centered around Baghdad and Baghdad security and the increased training of Iraqi Security Forces is at the top of the agenda when [Bush and Maliki] meet later this week.'”

Meanwhile, sister net MSNBC has benefited from Keith Olbermann’s anti-Bush crusades, recently calling the war the “monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq,” according to the Los Angeles Times. But Olbermann says that he is not positioning himself to be the liberal alternative to Bill O’Reilly, and that he will be holding the Dems accountable as well.

He tells Matea Gold: “If the Democrats don’t undo a lot of the things that have been done, like the Military Commissions Act and many of the other infringements on freedom, as I see it, there will be a special comment with their name on it.”

And in another example of mainstream media’s new belligerence, the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta profiles CNN’s Lou Dobbs and what he calls his “populist crusade” in a role that “combines Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader.”

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