Apparently there were false statements made in the build-up to the Iraq War. Who’da thunk it?
WASHINGTON – A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks. […]
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
The study concludes that the administration deliberately orchestrated a propaganda campaign that “effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”
There’s no doubt that public opinion was “galvanized”, and yup! We did indeed go off to war under false pretenses. No “new” news there, folks. But all these years later, I’m still not sure who led the orchestra and who played.
What I do know is that lots of folks listened… and the MSM had front row seats.
Meanwhile, it’s 2008, and although I find all of this to be somewhat irrelevant when it comes to current policy, it’s worth noting that Symphony 9/11 is still playing behind all our foreign policy discussions. It’s been incorporated into a wider song; a new National Anthem, even.
It’s called the Politics of Fear.
* * * * *
One more point: the report takes journalists to task for failing to examine the statements made by various members of the Bush Administration more critically. In my view that’s one of the enormous weaknesses of the wholesale distribution model of newsgathering, particularly national and international newsgathering, that’s in use today. A failure in the centralized newsgathering mechanisms is proliferated through the entire system with incredible facility.
A defensive Captain Ed tries to throw up a smoke-screen:
However, the Center for Public Integrity hardly qualifies as “independent”. It gets much of its funding from George Soros, who has thrown millions of dollars behind Democratic political candidates, and explicitly campaigned to defeat George Bush in 2004
And via TMV, Robert Stein strains to draw a line between the current state of affairs in Iraq and the initial spin:
Now that 935 lies to get us into Iraq have been documented, collated and counted, how many more is it taking to keep us there?