Frank Rich Says Katie Couric Drank the Kool-Aid in Iraq

Rich calls two scholars from the left-of-center Brookings Institution "Pentagon junketeers" for daring to suggest things are improving on the ground in Iraq.

Not even CBS anchor Katie Couric is sufficiently liberal to satisfy drama critic turned political commentator Frank Rich, who in his latest epic Sunday column accused the CBS anchor, who recently went to Iraq, of "drinking the...Kool-Aid" regarding Bush's optimistic pronouncements on the war.

Following the lefty line, Rich also referred to two scholars from the left-of-center Brookings Institution as "Pentagon junketeers" for daring to suggest things are improving on the ground in Iraq.

"What's surprising is not that this White House makes stuff up, but that even after all the journalistic embarrassments in the run-up to the war its fictions can still infiltrate the real news. After Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, two Brookings Institution scholars, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed article in July spreading glad tidings of falling civilian fatality rates, they were widely damned for trying to pass themselves off as tough war critics (both had supported the war and the surge) and for not mentioning that their fact-finding visit to Iraq was largely dictated by a Department of Defense itinerary.

"But this has not impeded them from posing as quasi-journalistic independent observers elsewhere ever since, whether on CNN, CBS, Fox or in these pages, identifying themselves as experts rather than Pentagon junketeers. Unlike Armstrong Williams, the talking head and columnist who clandestinely received big government bucks to 'regularly comment' on No Child Left Behind, they received no cash. But why pay for what you can get free?"

To bolster his slander of the scholars, Rich linked to a story at Salon by the immensely self-satisfied left-wing blogger Glenn Greenwald.

Then it was on to Couric.

"Anchoring the 'CBS Evening News' from Iraq last week, Katie Couric seemed to be drinking the same Kool-Aid (or eating the same lobster tortellini) as Mr. O'Hanlon. As 'a snapshot of what's going right,' she cited Falluja, a bombed-out city with 80 percent unemployment, and she repeatedly spoke of American victories against 'Al Qaeda.' Channeling the president's bait-and-switch, she never differentiated between that local group he calls 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' and the Qaeda that attacked America on 9/11."