Times Reporter Chastised for Saying He Wants US to Win in Iraq

The Times' military correspondent got in hot water for advancing a personal opinion on the Iraq War on television. But what about liberal reporters who do the same?

Skip the boring bulk of Public Editor Byron Calame's latest innocuous, inside-baseball column and skip straight to the brief shirt-tail,

Apparently some liberal Times readers complained that Times military reporter Michael Gordon had the bad taste to go on the PBS talk show"Charlie Rose" January 8 and say he wanted the United States to win the war in Iraq.

Calame: "Times editors have carefully made clear their disapproval of the expression of a personal opinion about Iraq on national television by the paper's chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon.

"The rumored military buildup in Iraq was a hot topic on the Jan. 8 'Charlie Rose' show, and the host asked Mr. Gordon if he believed 'victory is within our grasp.' The transcript of Mr. Gordon's response, which he stressed was 'purely personal,' includes these comments:

"'So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it's worth it [sic] one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we've never really tried to win. We've simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it's done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something.'"

A Charlie Rose watcher complained, and Calame acted.

"I raised reader concerns about Mr. Gordon's voicing of personal opinions with top editors, and received a response from Philip Taubman, the Washington bureau chief. After noting that Mr. Gordon has 'long been mindful and respectful of the line between analysis and opinion in his television appearances,' Mr. Taubman went on to draw the line in this case.

"'I would agree with you that he stepped over the line on the 'Charlie Rose' show. I have discussed the appearances with Michael and I am satisfied that the comments on the Rose show were an aberration. They were a poorly worded shorthand for some analytical points about the military and political situation in Baghdad that Michael has made in the newspaper in a more nuanced and unopinionated way. He agrees his comments on the show went too far.'

"It's a line drawn correctly by Mr. Taubman - and accepted honorably by Mr. Gordon."

Apparently Gordon's sin was to admit he was putting forth a personal view. He should have been like his colleague Neil MacFarquhar, who works the Muslim-American beat, and who advanced hisown liberal opinion on the Charlie Rose show, without any caveats about it being his "own personal view" (although it obviously was).

MacFarquhar appeared on "Charlie Rose" last July and slipped in this anti-Bush, America-critical personal commentary:

"If you talk to people my age - I'm in my mid-40s - and who grew up in poor countries like Morocco, you know, they will tell you that when they went to school in the mornings, they used to get milk, and they called it Kennedy milk because it was the Americans that sent them milk. And in 40 years, we have gone from Kennedy milk to the Bush administration rushing bombs to this part of the world. And it just erodes and erodes and erodes America's reputation."

Apparently MacFarquhar didn't get any lectures from Times editors for voicing liberal opinions on the Charlie Rose show.

To watch video of MacFarquhar's rant in Real format, click on the picture above.