Wednesday, March 03, 2004

We ought to do this more often

Excellent analysis by Chris Mooney of major newspapers' editorials from a year ago on the leadup to war:
of the six papers we studied, for the most part, the ones that supported war also accepted Bush's justifications for it.
The Wall Street Journal - whose editorial page editor, Paul Gigot, declined to be interviewed for this article - pushed questionable al Qaeda theories the hardest. ...
In examining the generally dismissive reactions to the UN's chief nuclear inspector, one comes face to face with the strongly nationalistic character of many U.S. editorial pages' writings in the run-up to war with Iraq. As the Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, a dissenter from his paper's editorial stance on Iraq, put it during the weeks preceding war, "Here in America, there is general agreement that we are right and everybody else on Earth is wrong."
The article is covered here too:
The only national news organization that emerges the low-profile Washington bureau of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain--which includes the Miami Herald, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Jose Mercury News.
What do the editorial page editors say in their own defense? "We don't discuss the process that goes into writing the editorials," ... "I do wish we'd been more skeptical of Powell's WMD claims before the UN." Others remain faithful to their own discredited narratives.
it was too little, too late: When we needed [the press] most, they weren't there. CJR gave the last word to the intelligence writer Thomas Powers. "All these papers are on notice," Powers ["highly respected writer on intelligence issues for The New York Review of Books and author of Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda"] said. "They've seen what happened. They were hustled."
Also from the Mooney article:
In Powers's recent NYRB article "The Vanishing Case for War," he reached this jaw-dropping conclusion:
In the six months since the President declared an end to major combat in Iraq not a single one of the factual claims about Iraqi weapons and links to al-Qaeda has been robustly confirmed, and in most cases there has been no confirmation of any kind whatsoever.

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