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May 16, 2005

Beating Sixteen Dead Horses

Same point I'm making, but it's being made elsewhere, including at the tony and respectable New Criterion:

Here's a question: Why is it that all the stories you read in Time-Newsweek-The New York Times-The Washington Post-Etc. or see on CNN-The BBC-CBS-NBC-Etc., why is it that all their stories about Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, etc., why is it that the presumption, the prejudice, the predisposition never goes the other way? Why is it that their reporters always assume the worst: that we're doing dirty at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., and are primed to pick up and believe any rumor damaging to the United States? Shakespeare knew that rumor was a “pipe/blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,” not to be trusted. So why do these journalists, trained to sift evidence, to probe sources, to listen beyond the static of rumor: why do they only do so in one direction, so to speak? Yes, I know that's a self-answering question, at least in part, but it is worth pondering nonetheless. Austin Bay calls the incident at Newsweek “The Press’ Abu Ghraib.” I hope that he is right.

Hat tip to Austin Bay, who similarly observes:

The “Vietnam-Watergate” motive’s also in play. That’s a tired and dirty game but for three decades it’s been a successful ploy for the New York-Washington-LA media axis. It’s rules are simple. Presume the government is lying– always make that presumption, particularly when the president is a Republican. Presume the worst about the US military– always make that presumption, even when the president is a Democrat. Add multi-cultural icing– the complaints and allegations of “Third World victims” are given revered status, the statements of US and US-allied nations met with cynical doubt and arrogant contempt. (Yes, the myth of the Noble Savage re-cast.)

But there is "no institutional bias" that led to the reckless and deadly decision to print this "story." After all, Newsweek's Washington Bureau Chief says so.

And Newsweek is all about the credibility.

PS: I would again mention that Judith Miller's reportage is an example of reportage the left can claim did "go the other way," that is, helped George Bush make the case for war.

Judith Miller wasn't fired, but her own paper rebuked her reportage. And the left still never shuts up about her. Neal Gabler just whined about her this weekend on Fox Media Watch.

That said-- Judith Miller had multiple sources for all her representations. Trouble is, those sources seem (seem) to have been relying on mistaken intelligence.

It's not as if she was allowed to print stories about Saddam's WMD's based on one anonymous sources' say so and a government official's vague non-denial, as happened here.


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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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