Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky is the American editor-at-large of the Guardian (UK). He was executive editor of the Prospect from 2003 to 2006.

Recent Articles

Prevaricating President

The extent of the Bush administration's abuse of intelligence and propagandizing on behalf of this "optional war," as George Will casually called it, is at this point clear to anyone watching. So are the recent and continuing lies and fictions. To take one of the most striking: Donald Rumsfeld said on March 30 that we knew precisely that weapons of mass destruction were in and around Tikrit and Baghdad; Condoleezza Rice said Sunday, "No one ever said that we knew precisely where" the weapons caches were. In fact, matters reached the point of comedy this week as we watched George W. Bush define deviousness down from "weapons of mass destruction" to a mere "weapons program," a criterion by which we would be obligated to invade virtually every nation on earth except Monaco (although even the pesky Monegasques, being sort of French and all, aren't above suspicion). The question for Democrats now: How to make Americans care? We're living in times that I don't even know how to describe. It'...

Off Sides

It may not have been one of my most important journalistic assignments, but going up to Bristol, Conn., to spend a Sunday afternoon in October 1991 with Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and the rest of ESPN's NFL Prime Time crew still rates among the most enjoyable. I remember how agog I was as they led me into their inner sanctum, a dimly lit conference room with mammoth bowls of chips and popcorn, footballs for tossing around (for mood establishment) and, most impressively (especially for 1991), 15 or so televisions arrayed along one wall so they could watch every game in progress. At the time I was representing The Village Voice , and though I recall Berman making one gentle crack about the cross-cultural incongruities separating a bohemian newspaper from the National Football League (and as a Brown University graduate, he surely had personal experience with such incongruities), he and everyone else went along with my story in good cheer. Because what was interesting about Prime Time in...

True Lies

A fresh and potentially damning revelation about pre-war manipulation of intelligence comes out, and the administration -- for the first time -- has to acknowledge that an "incorrect" justification for war was bruited. It's yet another instance -- the 13,862nd, I think -- over which we shake our heads, imagining what the right would have done if a Gore administration had tried to get away with something like this. And so, once again, we are confronted with the same exasperating question: What has to happen to make the American people care about the lies told to get us into this war? Actually, there are a few encouraging signs of disarray. Joseph C. Wilson IV's thunderbolt New York Times op-ed piece Sunday debunking George W. Bush's State of the Union claim about the Iraq-Niger uranium connection could prove to be a turning point. But for that to happen -- that is, for the people to care -- the media has to tell them it's something they should care about. It would be too much at this...

Anger Management

A leading conservative trope these days seems to be a genuine (although I wonder how genuine) puzzlement over liberal anger. For reasons we'll get to shortly, the Fourth of July strikes me as a very appropriate occasion on which to explain that anger's sources. Permit me, then, as a certain famous American document once put it, to submit these facts to a candid world. Here, distilled into four paragraphs, is the liberal interpretation of the last 10 years. After a long and in some ways well-earned stroll in the wilderness, Democrats finally elect one of their own to the presidency. He is a prodigiously talented man. He has flaws, to be sure, and some of them are important. But far more important is the way the rules of the game change upon his ascension. On election night, the nation's leading Republican goes on television and snorts that the victory is illegitimate; from that point on, a campaign is waged to destroy -- not tarnish or discredit or soften up, but destroy -- the new...

With Interest

It's not as if we needed one more example to prove that the mainstream media have developed a reflex of accepting the premises of the right in order to make liberals look discredited. But try this one on for size. This past Sunday, Howard Dean was a guest on Meet the Press . Host Tim Russert wanted to engage the former Vermont governor on whether repealing the Bush administration's tax cuts, a position Dean supports, would amount to a tax increase. Russert confronted Dean with the "fact" that a repeal of both major Bush tax cuts would lead to a $1,933 tax increase for a couple earning $40,000. Usually, these kinds of figures come from an independent source of some kind -- the Congressional Budget Office or not-for-profit tax study groups, which generally tilt in one direction or the other but at least are not an official arm of the government. But in this case, Russert went to the Treasury Department for his figures. He said as much on the air, so at least he didn't try to hide it...

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