General, is the war going well, or is the war going extremely well?
In the Guardian, Michael Wolff explains his controversial question to General Vincent Brooks: "I mean no disrespect, but what is the value proposition of these briefings. Why are we here? Why should we stay? What's the value of what we're learning at this million dollar press centre?"
The trouble begins. And, even though it was the question everyone wanted to ask, Wolff points out the hazards of actually asking a question like this live on international television...
"We had reached the point where reporters were interviewing other reporters in the most media scrutinised war ever fought. But even among the over-exposed, I was - because of the irritable question I'd asked at a daily briefing and over international television - on the verge of a special status: becoming the wise-ass of the war..."
Apparently, Rush Limbaugh and his crowd don't like a "wise-ass"...
"To his audience of 20 million - pro-war, military minded, Bush-centered, media-hating - lily white-Rush laid me out. I was not only a reporter, but one from New York magazine. "New York" resonated. It combined with "media" and suddenly, in the hands of Rush, I was as elitist and as pampered (fortunately nobody mentioned the Ritz) and as dismissive of the concerns of real Americans as, well, Rush's 20 million assume the media to be. Whereas Rush, that noted foot soldier, represented the military heartland."
We need more people like Michael Wolff in the media. If only to get Rush all riled up. Make sure to read the whole column, it's quite good.