In the days of the old Pravda, one could determine who was winning secret Politburo power struggles by just looking at the official Soviet newspaper. Those winning simply got better press.
Perhaps it may be no different
here in the United States.
This week two of the heaviest guns in American media, The Washington Post and The New York Times, unloaded their missiles at Obama adviser David Axelrod while heralding White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as a centrist and pragmatist.
Newsmax concludes that all the good ink that Emanuel has received recently means that he's winning this battle. In fact, all this really means is that Obama is losing.
The ship is sinking and everyone is pointing fingers everywhere but themselves. So, Emanuel has gotten both the Washington Post and the New York Times to print favorable articles toward him.
What are these articles really saying? Here's one example.
But a contrarian narrative is emerging: Emanuel is a force of political reason within the White House and could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts.
It is a view propounded by lawmakers and early supporters of President Obama who are frustrated because they think the administration has gone for the perfect at the expense of the plausible. They believe Emanuel, the town's leading purveyor of four-letter words, a former Israeli army volunteer and a product of a famously argumentative family, was not aggressive enough in trying to persuade a singularly self-assured president and a coterie of true-believer advisers that "change you can believe in" is best pursued through accomplishments you can pass.
In fact, almost everyone can see that the Obama presidency is on the brink and Emanuel is getting out ahead to make sure that the bulk of the blame doesn't land on him. So, most people believe that his allies reached out to the Post and Times and presented him in a positive light while painting Axelrod negatively.
The most important thing is not which aide is viewed favorably and which is viewed positively. What's important is that the ship is sinking and the rats are turning on each other. In this case, it is President Obama that loses.