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Sabato: Kerry 274, Bush 264 | Main | Media Declares War on Truth
June 18, 2004

Liberal Media: "9-11 Panel Says No Ties Between Iraq and Al Qaeda"
9-11 Panel: "Oh Yes There Were"

The liberal media-political establishment -- let's call it for what it is; it is a contiguous organization with offices from ABC to the DNC -- has staked its future on the proposition that there were "no" ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

They could be honest and admit there were such ties, and then argue that, despite such ties, they didn't "rise to the level" of the sort of cooperation justifying an invasion. But they know they will lose that political argument, so they dare not make it.

The American people don't much care if the ties were "operational" or not. We've pretty much had it with countries with any ties to Al Qaeda.

Since they cannot make the argument on the actual facts, they've decided to simply change the facts to ones better suiting their position. To wit, they've decided that there were no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Further, they've decided that even when the 9-11 panel reports there were such ties, they will deliberately lie and claim the panel stated the opposite.

Some headlines:

MSNBC: 9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida

Washington Post: No Evidence Connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda, 9/11 Panel Says

Reuters: No signs Iraq aided al-Qaeda, says 9/11 panel (running in "The Star," wherever that's from)

AP: 9/11 panel sees no proof of Al-Qaeda-Saddam link (running in The Straits Times)

And of course:

The New York Times: Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie

Is that what the 9-11 commission said? That there were no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

Let's ask Chairman Tom Kean:

"What we have found is, were there contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Yes. Some of them were shadowy - but they were there."

But he's a Republican, the liberals rejoin. Of course; nothing is true in America unless a liberal can be persuaded to agree. But never mind. We have such a liberal. Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton, Democrat:

"I must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this. The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that. What we have said is what the governor just said, we don't have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between Saddam Hussein's government and these al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn, the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me."

Hell, let's look at The New York Times' own reportage, in the very article headlined "Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie":

The report said that despite evidence of repeated contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 90's, "they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."

Ah. Just mere "repeated contacts." Certainly not a "tie."

Notice the shift in language. The headline rules out a "tie" -- that's pretty absolute. But the actual article admits a tie, and merely rules out a "collaborative relationship," which doesn't mean much, and in fact seems contradicted by the actual facts. (If you're discussing aiding each other, guess what? You're in a collaborative relationship.)

And how about this:

"There were systematic efforts by Al Qaeda to connect with Iraq - many of them failed," Thomas H. Kean, a Republican and former governor of New Jersey, said in an interview.

Any one notice the word there is "many" rather than "all"? One would think the press would ask the rather-compelling follow-up question of "How many efforts to "connect" actually succeeded?" But apparently this didn't occur to our dilligent Timesman.

On Brit Hume tonight, Mort Kondracke called Hamilton's statement "devastating to the American Media," and he pulled no punches as to why they had so badly misreported the panel's findings: They did it in order to hurt Bush. They lied -- my words now, not his -- to hurt Bush.

I like Mort. I've said before-- I like hearing from him more than Fred Barnes, because Fred Barnes is, let's face it, in the bag for the good guys. I like him, but I can't believe everything he says.

Mort Kondracke, on the other hand, is very definitely a centrist-- the sort of undecided independent certain other pundits falsely claim to be. And if he's willing to make that stark an indictment, you can believe it.

The media has long played the Game of Negatives. For a long time, they have only reported ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda in negative terms. If there are ties, they will not affirmatively report the existence of ties. They won't say, "Ties discovered." They will only report what has not been found, such as "no strong ties" or "no operational ties" or "no ties to 9-11 itself."

Whatever is found as regards a tie, they will only give the headline to what has not yet been found.

You could always look at those qualifiers and infer that, if there were no "strong" ties in the media's estimation, of course there must be weak ties, or else they wouldn't have bothered with the qualification.

But as of yesterday, the media changed the rules of the game. No longer would they simply reject the existence of "strong ties" or "operational ties." Now they would deliberately misrepresent the findings of the 9-11 Panel and claim that there were no ties, period, full stop, end sentence.

Hat Tip: Pains me as it does to say this, although I heard Kean's and Hamilton's words on FoxNews, I actually found the transcripts of their words on, egads, the blog of an undecided, independent swing voter who honestly could go either way in this election and really, you oughtn't rush him because he's wrestling with all sorts of difficult issues at the moment.

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