Patterico's Pontifications


Who Are You Gonna Believe? Me, or Your Lying Transcript?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:46 pm

Three days ago, I railed at the L.A. Times for an incredibly misleading story regarding the 9/11 Commission’s interim staff report. The story, which was on the paper’s front page, was titled Despite Findings, Bush Sees Iraq Tie to Al Qaeda. The story repeatedly asserted, quite incorrectly, that the interim staff report had directly contradicted the Administration’s position on Iraq/Al Qaeda connections. I noted that the story had pointedly omitted several recent quotes from the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, in which they had forcefully and repeatedly stated that their findings were completely consistent with the Bush Administration’s position.

Well, the L.A. Times is at it again — lying directly to its readers’ faces. And this time, it’s not lying by omission — it’s a direct misrepresentation, as the reader can easily verify with a simple review of the relevant transcript.

What Happens When Pseudo-Journalists Are Confronted with Their Own Ignorance?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

Captain Ed makes a very important observation: the first clear example of a member of an urban American newspaper clearly admitting that his paper screwed up its reporting about the links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I’m not talking about the half-assed non-apologies of the New York Times. I’m talking about this: a piece by Jack Kelly, national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who says today:

On Thursday, the lead headline in the Post-Gazette was “Saddam, al-Qaida Not Linked. Sept. 11 Panel’s Conclusion at Odds with Administration.” In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that day, the banner headline read: “9/11 Panel Debunks Saddam Link. Report: No Evidence of al-Qaida Ties.”

This was false, as the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 commission hastened to make clear.

The 9/11 commission staff report details a series of contacts between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Osama bin Laden.

Kelly continues, making the point that the information about these contacts is not new:

The report in effect confirms everything Secretary of State Colin Powell said about Iraq/al-Qaida ties in his February 2003 presentation to the United Nations, though you’d never know that from the reporting that has been done on the report.

In addition to the information presented by Powell in 2003, there is a mountain of other evidence — most of it going back to the days of the Clinton Administration — of significant ties between Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden’s organization, as detailed by Stephen Hayes here. For example, Hayes reminds us that “Clinton officials were adamant about an Iraq-al Qaeda connection in Sudan” and that “the Clinton Justice Department included the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship in its 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden.” Clinton Administration officials Dick Clarke, William Cohen, and Thomas Pickering all expressed certainty that Iraq had collaborated with Al Qaeda in developing lethal weapons.

Although this evidence has been around for years, the folks in the mainstream media are just now figuring it out. This is because — in response to virtually universal media reports falsely stating that the commission’s interim staff report had found “no links” between Iraq and Al Qaeda — the 9/11 commissioners have consistently emphasized that there were, in fact, extensive ties. Though the media initially struggled mightily to ignore the commissioners, the commissioners have simply been too vocal and consistent. People are noticing. As a direct result (as Cori Dauber notes), people other than right-wing ideologues are beginning to discuss the extensive evidence of connections between Saddam’s regime and bin Laden.

It’s ironic that it was the media’s very ignorance on these topics that caused the commissioners to speak out, which is finally getting these connections the publicity they had lacked. In the face of this publicity, Jack Kelly does his paper credit by forthrightly acknowledging just how badly his paper messed up the story of Iraqi connections to Al Qaeda.

I have a feeling he will be alone in this posture of honest acknowledgment.

Which bring me back to my old nemesis, the Los Angeles Times. Although there is a lot of crow to go around, I want to make sure to reserve a heaping helping for editor John Carroll. Remember his speech decrying the so-called “pseudo-journalism” of Fox News? Do you remember how he “proved” what a biased, ridiculous organization Fox supposedly is? Let me quote from Carroll’s speech — and you can bet I’m grinning a big grin as I remind you of these words:

You may be familiar with a study published last October on public misconceptions about the war in Iraq. One of those misconceptions was that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been found.

Another was that links had been proven between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

A third was that world opinion favored the idea of the U.S. invading Iraq.

Among people who primarily watched Fox News, 80 percent believed one or more of those myths. . . .

How could Fox have left its audience so deeply in the dark?

Carroll gave this speech in May of this year, when virtually all of the evidence I have mentioned or linked to in this post was already available.

So, in the face of all this evidence — evidence that has been available for years — the editor of the Los Angeles Times labeled a “misconception” and a “myth” the concept that “links had been proven between Iraq and Al Qaeda.” And he bitterly mocked anyone who believed that “myth” as a dupe, fooled by those pseudo-journalists at Fox News.

Now that the 9/11 commissioners are widely publicizing the fact that this is no “myth” at all, Carroll is now being shown to have been the biggest dupe of all — far less informed than the Fox News viewers for whom Carroll has such arrogant contempt.

The classy thing to do would be to issue an apology, as Jack Kelly so admirably did today.

Mr. Carroll, over to you.

Still More NYT Bias on the War?? Yup!

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:27 am

If you’re upset about media bias on the war, and you’re not reading the Ranting Prof, you should be. From a post today:

After pronouncing in the strongest possible terms that the 9/11 commission had declared no ties between Saddam and al Qaeda on the front page and ignoring for days the fact that the commission Chairs were taking the administration’s side against the press — the New York Times is finally forced to admit that the commission Chairs have weighed in against the press. And so they do. On page A-11.

Read the whole thing to see the utter dishonesty — and laziness — of the fine folks at the New York Times.

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