Our man Jafari.

Well, with the news that the Shiites are going to re-nominate Ibrahim Jafari as prime minister, the major American media have scored a perfect zero in interpreting the Iraqi elections: first, by telling us that Allawi and Chalabi were major contenders for the office (before the election), then by touting Abdul Mahdi, Sciri’s candidate and incidentally (oh, this flooded love into the hearts of the WAPO and NYT editorialists) a strong advocate of privatizing Iraq’s oil industry.

LI is better at interpreting the American media than outcomes in Iraq, but even we saw that the buildup to the elections, as seen through the prism of American journalism-speak, was so full of false premises that it was laughable. One of the things we laughed about then was a poll commissioned from Oxford Research by the BBC and ABC. That poll showed Allawi as one of the most popular politicians in Iraq. At the time, we remarked that the poll seemed so skewed that it had to have heavily sampled the rather small middle and upper class, and simply ignored the too dangerous to poll Iraqi working class. In the event, that proved correct. But though a poll that predicted, for instance, that Kerry would win with 60 percent of the vote in 2004 would become a laughingstock, the BBC poll will undoubtedly be used over and over again in the states. And there will be no questioning of the policy of writing more about Chalabi than about any other Iraqi politician, despite the fact that he has a constituency of about 0.1 percent in Iraq, largely made up of journalists and stringers for the Times. As for Jafari, the man who will represent the reason that the next two thousand Americans will die, the next 10,000 will be crippled, and the next 20 thousand or so Iraqis will be killed (collateral casualties, that. But sometimes, I do like to remember those freedom loving Iraqis we are doing so much to help), I’d predict a number of rehashing articles that tell little about the man, and then some fastening on some American friendly face. I would imagine that a mere five percent or less of the American population knows about the guy. Many would be surprised that his party not only helped invent suicide bombing in the Middle East, but were involved in setting off explosions in the American embassy in Kuwait and were supportive, and may be involved with, the destruction of the Beirut embassy in 1983. It would immediately occur to Americans, if they knew this, that the governing class in this country is fucked up. So they will never know this.

The media, after all, has a responsibility to keep Americans from knowing that the governing class is fucked up. Isn’t that the motto of the American Society of Journalists or something?