Patterico's Pontifications


Wapo and CBS – brothers in arms

Filed under: Media Bias — Charlie (Colorado) @ 4:58 pm

According to this Washington Postcorrection, they “incorrectly attributed a quotation to Charles A. Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq. The statement, “We were almost all wrong,” was made by Duelfer’s predecessor, David Kay, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Jan. 28.”.

Now, it’s nice that the Post corrects its mistakes, and the very next day too. But, let’s remember that the original column ran below a FOUR COLUMN HEADLINE. Now, it’s been a long time since I was kicked off my

college newspaper’s headline desk (funny story, at least I think so. But that’s not important right now), but I think that before one decides to run with a FOUR COLUMN HEADLINE, the Post editors ought to have, as a matter of policy, moved heaven and earth to ensure that the headline was accurate. After all, it’s not like this was something they were burying on Page A25, it was the frigging front page, above the fold and with a FOUR COLUMN “HEADLINE!

This mistake should not be treated the same way as your run of the mill media mistake. Kay made this quote way, way back on January 28. Even though it got an awful lot of airtime back then – googling “we were almost all wrong” and Kay produces hundreds of responses – it was long enough ago for it to fade from memory, just as the first song you hear in the morning fades from your memory by the next day.

What we have here, is not a failure to communicate, but a case of the Post engaging in the same behavior as CBS engaged in with the forged documents. While somewhat different, both of these media-slams-at-Bush-proven-wrong have similar aspects: obsessed reporters looking for something to slam Bush, combined with a willingness to overlook basic editing standards in order to advance a story/headline that would make Bush look bad.

Just as CBS wanted the documents to be good, I’m guessing the the Post headline writers and editors wanted the quote to be good. What other reason would the Post have incorrectly used this FOUR COLUMN HEADLINE?

As I’ve said before, the Post is just as biased, they’re (usually) just not as stupid. At least, not usually.

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