Friday, March 19, 2004

As the press knelt to kiss Bush's boot, the World's Greatest Newspaper (not!) planted its lips first 

It's always nice to hear about old friends like Judith Miller, isn't it?

The journalists on the panels at the University of California at Berkeley this week blamed the Bush administration for leaking faulty information, but said the media also has itself to blame for not being more skeptical about the case for war.

"The press did not do their job," said Michael Massing, who wrote an article in the New York Review of Books that found The New York Times and The Washington Post particularly at fault.

Journalists fear they will be seen as unpatriotic if they challenge White House statements, said Robert Sheer, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

"There is no doubt that there is an atmosphere of fear in the media of being out of sync with the punitive government," Sheer said.

Much of the criticism focused on a Sept. 8, 2002, New York Times article by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which said Iraq was importing aluminum tubes that could be used in centrifuges to enrich uranium, a critical step in making an atomic bomb.

Massing said nuclear experts or weapons inspectors would have refuted the evidence had the Times consulted them. Experts later verified the tubes were not used for nuclear weapons, but The New York Times and other papers buried that news in their inside pages, he said.

Massing noted that a phrase from the article - "The first sign of a smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud" - made it into President Bush's State of the Union address last year, as well as speeches by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell to justify the war.

A call to the Times for comment was not immediately returned on Friday.
(via AP)

I wonder why?

Winning throught intimidation has worked for Bush so far—will it keep working for him?

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