Selective skepticism

I’ve been listening to segments of Monday’s “Democracy Now,” a “progressive” radio show, featuring interviews with George Galloway and Robert Fisk about Sunday’s Iraqi election.

Galloway was breathtaking. He called Sunday’s election a “farce,” “rigged,” and “flawed beyond redemption.” He predicted the war will go on (“I’m sorry to say”) until the US and UK negotiate terms of withdrawal with the “resistance.” Is Galloway still going to be a leading voice of what’s left of the antiwar movement in the UK? I can’t think of anyone better suited to discredit it among those with at least one foot in reality.

Fisk, in Baghdad, was downright reasonable by comparison. He called the turnout of Shi’a voters “moving” and “impressive,” while spinning it as more of a rejection of the coalition than an embrace of democracy.

After hearing the skepticism voiced by host Amy Goodman and her guests about the fairness and significance of the election, my mind raced back October 2002, when the same host and the same program offered an utterly non-skeptical report on Iraq’s previous “election,” which featured a 100 percent turnout and a 100 percent vote for the only candidate, Saddam Hussein.