The right side of the blogosphere is all over the clueless media coverage of a new “study” and database compiled by “two nonprofit journalism organizations” that purports to show that BUSH LIED to entice American into Iraq. You would think by now that the MSM would try to spare itself some embarrassment and at least do a cursory Google search before casting the researchers as neutral, reliable, disinterested parties. But noooo. They dutifully published these transparent moonbat briefs for impeachment without disclosing the “nonprofit journalism organizations'” ties to BDS sugar daddy George Soros.
Here’s the AP:
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 concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.” The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat. “The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.
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.”
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
The NYT has a similar, stenographic account of the study.
Big Lizards rips into the MSM omissions:
Here are a couple of inconvenient truths the AP story neglects to tell us:
* “A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations…”
The Fund for Independence in Journalism says its “primary purpose is providing legal defense and endowment support for the largest nonprofit, investigative reporting institution in the world, the Center for Public Integrity, and possibly other, similar groups.” Eight of the eleven members of the Fund’s board of directors are either on the BoD of the Center for Public Integrity, or else are on the Center’s Advisory Board. Thus these “two” organizations are actually joined at the hip.
* “Fund for Independence in Journalism…”
The Center is heavily funded by George Soros. It has also received funding from Bill Moyers, though some of that money might have actually been from Soros, laundered through Moyers via the Open Society Foundation.
Other funders include the Streisand Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts (used to be conservative, but in 1987 they veered sharply to the left, and are now a dyed-in-the-wool “progressive” funder), the Los Angeles Times Foundation, and so forth. The Center is a far-left organization funded by far-left millionaires, billionaires, and trusts…
…I’m certain it’s sheer coincidence that this nonsense was spewed across the news sockets during the peak of the election primary season… and right before the primary in Florida, of all states. Had anyone at AP or the Times realized how this might affect the election, I know their independent journalistic integrity would have suggested they hold this non-time-constrained story until afterwards. Say, they could even have used the time to consider whether “Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship” and “the relationship didn’t amount to direct cooperation” contradict each other.
A less charitable person than I might imagine this “database” was nothing but a mechanical tool to allow good liberals easier access to a tasty “two-minutes hate.”
But realizing that the elite media has only our best interests at heart, my only possible conclusion is that, despite the multiple layers of editorial input that must occur at these venues, several important facts just slipped through the cracks:
* The fact that the Center for Public Integrity is a Left-funded, leftist, activist organization with a serious hatchet to grind with the Bush administration;
* The fact that the Fund for Independence in Journalism is neither independent, nor is it engaged in journalism (it’s a front group of mostly the same people whose purpose is to shield the Center from lawsuits);
* And the fact that the vast majority of the supposed “false statements” are in fact simply positions with which liberals disagree, or else statements widely accepted at the time that later investigation (after deposing Saddam Hussein) showed to be inaccurate.
I must assume that these self-evident facts must simply have been honestly missed by the gimlet-eyed reporters and editors at AP and the NYT.
For chuckles, I point you back to NYT editor Bill Keller’s speech in December:
…we are agnostic as to where a story may lead; we do not go into a story with an agenda or a pre-conceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda. We strive to preserve our independence from political and economic interests, including our own advertisers. We do not work in the service of a party, or an industry, or even a country. When there are competing views of a situation, we aim to reflect them as clearly and fairly as we can.”
Self-delusion. It’s what’s for breakfast in America’s newsrooms.
Ed Morrissey roasts the MSM’s recycling of the Soros-sponsored website’s old, not-news:
…there is nothing new in this site that hasn’t already been picked apart by the blogosphere, and some of it discredited. It includes the debunked charge that Bush lied in the “sixteen words” of the 2003 State of the Union address. Joe Wilson’s own report to the CIA and to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed that, at least according to Niger’s Prime Minister, Iraq had sought to trade for uranium in 1999. The CPI site has the sixteen words posted as one of their false statements.
Let’s boil this down. An organization funded by known political activists puts up a website with shopworn quotes taken mostly out of context and misrepresented — and this somehow qualifies as news?
Hey, AP. I’ll be posting a couple of essays today. I’ll be sure to look for your breathless report on the wires later this afternoon.
Gabriel Schoenfeld at Commentary turns the tables on the “Center for Public Integrity” and the NYT:
After delving into the database and reading the Center’s analysis, the question arises: did the Bush administration “methodically” lie to the public? The Center’s own answer is yes, and the same answer is the impression left by the news pages of the New York Times. Indeed, the paper reports that what the database exposes is akin to the worst political scandal of the American presidency: “Muckrakers may find browsing the site reminiscent of what Richard M. Nixon used to dismissively call ‘wallowing in Watergate.’”
Toward the end of its story, the Times notes that “officials have defended many of their prewar statements as having been based on the intelligence that was available at the time — although there is now evidence that some statements contradicted even the sketchy intelligence of the time.”
But that is an absurd way of putting it, minimizing and obscuring some central facts. Would it not have been more honest for the newspaper of record to recall that however “sketchy” the intelligence, it was not presented by the CIA to the administration as sketchy at all? Rather, it was presented as an iron-clad case, most memorably by CIA director George Tenet as a “a slam-dunk.” And would it not have been more honest to point out that the post-war studies of Iraq’s WMD program, like the Duelfer Report, had the benefit not merely of hindsight but the ability of investigators to roam freely through Iraqi archives and facilities? Back in 2002 and early 2003, when the U.S. was gearing up for war, things looked very differently than they did afterward.
This brings us back to the question which we began. What is a false statement? Did the Bush administration lie when it relied on the CIA’s estimates of Iraq’s WMD program, or is it the Center for Public Integrity that is now doing some lying, with the New York Times brazenly helping them along?
Lawhawk reminds the “Bush Lied” crowd of all the others who “lied” (bonus YouTube vid embedded and added below):
Let’s keep this in mind. The Administration based its statements on CIA information that both parties in the United States relied upon for more than a decade….how many of these so-called lies were repeated ad nauseum by the likes of President Bill Clinton, First Lady/Senator Hillary Clinton, Sec. State Albright, National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards, and all the rest of the Democrats during the 1990s? It only came after 2003 that people realized that the CIA intel about the Iraqi WMD programs was found to be incorrect.
That’s not a lie. That’s bad intel, which was only discovered after Saddam Hussein was ousted.
James Joyner: “Being proven wrong is not ‘lying.'”
Jason Smith: “Another day, another Soros-funded, anti-Bush study being touted by the water-carrying MSM.”
Flopping Aces: “Non-Partisan my ass!”
RedState takes a stroll down memory lane.