16 January 2007

Who To Believe

I caught this thread on Ace of Spades and found it quite interesting.

Pamela Hess, reporter for API, was on CNN along with Martha Raddatz, White House correspondent for ABC News and Steve Roberts, professor of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University and former correspondent for "The New York Times" discussing the present situation in Iraq. She hit the nail squarely with her observation that "we're getting distracted by the shiny political knife fight", adding the question that should be on everyone's lips: "If we lose, how are we going to mitigate the consequences of this?"

How indeed? She goes on to point out that "it seems that if as a reporter you do ask the national security question, all of a sudden you're carrying Bush's water. There are national security questions at stake, and we're ignoring them and the country is getting screwed."

Steve Roberts responded with "I think still in the press corps there's a sense of failure having in the early days of the war not revealed and not been able to call to account an administration which we now know was fabricating intelligence, was wrong on weapons of mass destruction, wrong on the presence of al Qaeda. There is a sense of failure in the press corps for having not been tough enough then. I think they're making up for it."

Maybe it's my faulty memory, but I seem to remember reports of quagmire and troops being bogged down from the beginning. The failures in the early days of the war were not failures of reporting, but failure to report failures. Mostly because there weren't many. But let's take Mr. Roberts's accusations one at a time.

Fabricating intelligence? Not so, President Bush was relying on intelligence found from several sources, including foreign intelligence services - mostly French and British. Wrong on weapons of mass destruction? While it's true that we haven't found completed multiple nuclear warheads strapped to the tops of ICBM's with Washington DC co-ordinates programmed into their GPS guidance systems, what we have found is proof enough that Saddam not only had WMD's, but fully intended to restart his programs when the UN could be safely shooed out of the way. Wrong on the connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq? How do you account for the 9-11 Commision's reports that say otherwise? The commission said that while they could find no evidence to suggest that Saddam had anything to do with the 9-11 attacks, the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda were many and irrefutable.

The truth of the matter is that the press in this country is made up of mostly Democrats who are enamored of the Watergate era and strive mightily to come up with something of the same line that can drag down another President and garner prizes and accolades from their professional colleagues. They care little to nothing about actual reporting for truth's sake, but rather they are intent on giving us what facts they want us to have as well as telling us what we should think about it. This is why alternate outlets such as Fox News, the Drudge Report, and the blogosphere have become so important to newshounds that are looking for both sides of the story. This is also why the traditional media has seen their marketshare decline. However, they seem to not be able to see this for themselves, instead choosing to attack the alternates and "rage against the dying of the light", so to speak.

If I could find all these sources buttressing the President's position in a few hours of Googlebombing, surely Tony Snow and his crack team of professionals could find truckloads of evidence to the same effect. The fact that this does not happen is both annoying and mystifying, to me at least.

But at least the Pentagon gets it.

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