Normally I am wary of claims that “trying to please actual or potential readers” is a reason for why newspapers go in for pro ‘liberal’ elite content (I suspect that the desire to seem ‘modern’ and ‘with it’ is far more powerful than the desire for more readers – indeed may even lead people who control publications to drive away actual or potential readers).
However, the Iraq war is so unpopular that I am inclined to think that the choice of the Daily Telegraph to rat on its support for the war may indeed have been to try and please actual or potential readers.
So the editorial yesterday about how the “American involvement in Iraq limps to its inevitable and ignominious conclusion” was not much of shock to me – although I do find the language disgraceful. I, unlike the Daily Telegraph, did not support the judgement to go to go into Iraq in 2003 – but I would not use sub-Marxist death-to-America language like “inevitable” and “ignominious”.
However, there was an excuse for the editorial. The Daily Telegraph reported that a retired American General had suggested that the British army send more troops to Iraq – being either too stupid or too dishonest to understand that the British had no more troops to send. General Keane‘s comments were, according the Daily Telegraph, just an effort to use the British as an excuse for the failure of the Americans.
“The trouble with this was….” I heard the retired American General’s comments (on BBC Radio 4′s “Today Programme”) and far from being too stupid or too dishonest to understand the small size of the British army he actually said that the British army should be “grown” – i.e. made bigger, as he also said the American army and Marine Corps should be and he hoped would be. Of course one can argue about whether the British army really does need to be bigger (for example why are there over twenty thousands British troops in mainland Europe?), but the basic point here is clear.
The Daily Telegraph misreported the retired American General’s comments – in order to have an excuse for a standard ‘liberal’ elite death-to-America editorial.