I was channel surfing yesterday in the early evening and I saw something almost shocking on CNN. It was Candy Crowley explaining that yesterday’s National Intelligence Estimate on al-Qaeda was good news, politically, for the Democrats. For years now it’s been a staple of press analysis of politics that, in essence, all news — or at a minimum, all terrorism-related news — is good news for Republicans. Events or reports that make the threat seem less severe demonstrate how awesome Bush’s leadership has been. Events or reports that make the threat seem more severe demonstrate how badly we need Bush’s leadership. Now something seems to have snapped, because it’s not just Candy Crowley.
Check out this news analysis by Michael Abramowitz in The Washington Post that leads with the idea that the report is “fresh political peril” for the White House and that Bush’s key argument in favor of his approach to terrorism “seemed to unravel a bit” given the report. It’s a big change. Of course nothing in the world has changed, but now that Bush is unpopular already, this is the kind of coverage he gets.