August 13, 2004

When Will WaPo Admit Their Complicity

Today Howard Kurtz wrote a long piece in the Washington Post today on how the paper handled the WMD issue. What he showed was although there were stories questioning the credibility of the evidence used to sell the war, when these stories actually got into the paper, they were relegated to deep inside the paper and shouted over by the stories that gullibly drank the White House koolaide. According to this article, these stories that revealed the truth got lost in the noise of those days, and the editors were just overwhelmed with the copy coming in because of the rush to war. And now, Executive Editor Leonard Downie, Jr. says:

Reviewing the story in his glass-walled office last week, Downie said: "In retrospect, that probably should have been on Page 1 instead of A17, even though it wasn't a definitive story and had to rely on unnamed sources. It was a very prescient story."

...Whether a tougher approach by The Post and other news organizations would have slowed the rush to war is, at best, a matter of conjecture.

"People who were opposed to the war from the beginning and have been critical of the media's coverage in the period before the war have this belief that somehow the media should have crusaded against the war," Downie said. "They have the mistaken impression that somehow if the media's coverage had been different, there wouldn't have been a war."

Oh, isn't that nice? The WaPo is spending time showing that they really did have reporters that had gotten the story right. So, doesn't that make you feel all better for their coverage? Besides, didn't they really try to do their best? It was awfully confusing those days.

Well, just a year ago today, I ripped into the WaPo for the fact that they were just as hot as FOX news to get the Iraq war on. Even then, it was pretty clear that the so-called "imminent threat" was totally bogus, yet the WaPo was haughtily and defensively dismissive of anyone who suggested that they got their coverage wrong. Here is that post from August 10th of last year.

WaPo's Slap at Gore Should Be Slapped Down

Reading the Washington Post editorial about Al Gore's speech reminded me about how much the Washington Post did to March Us to War. No time for questions, it must be done right now. No wonder they didn't like Gore's speech:

But then why do so many other people support those policies? Mr. Gore has an umbrella explanation, albeit one that many Americans might find a tad insulting: "The administration has developed a highly effective propaganda machine to embed in the public mind mythologies. . . . "

Evidently the WaPo editors don't have a need to review the facts, because they know they were behind the war 100% and are in no mood to go back and question why they came to that support.

Personally, I remember reading their editorials before the war started and thinking that they were a bunch of bloodthirsty bastards anxiously waiting to see the bombs drop. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they haven't reconsidered their part in putting our country into this mess.

Let's review some of the editorials they were writing and the responses from their readers:

[Warning: Links are pointing to the WaPo paid archive.]

Ignoring The Unthinkable
Fred Hiatt
March 17, 2003; Page A19

If a terrorist were to detonate a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in Grand Central Station, about half a million people would die immediately -- roughly equivalent to the population of Washington, D.C. Much of Manhattan would be destroyed, and depending on the prevailing winds the rest of the island might have to be evacuated. Hundreds of thousands more would die of burns and exposure to radiation. The direct economic effects would surpass $1 trillion, or one-tenth of the nation's annual economic ....

'Drumbeat on Iraq'
March 1, 2003; Page A17
Section: B

I am one of the people to whom your Feb. 27 editorial was addressed: readers who are disturbed by your pro-war editorial position on Iraq. Thank you for this acknowledgment of our existence. Also, please know that I do appreciate the firewall that exists between your paper's news and opinion departments (without which I'd be long gone). Otherwise, the editorial was disappointing. It was condescending in tone and replete with oversimplified, false choices (e.g., between strength and...

'Drumbeat' on Iraq? A Response to Readers
February 27, 2003; Page A26
Section: B

"I HAVE BEEN a faithful reader of The Washington Post for almost 10 years," a recent e-mail to this page begins. "Recently, however, I have grown tired of your bias and endless drumbeating for war in Iraq." He's not the only one. The national and international debate over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and our editorials in favor of disarming the dictator, have prompted a torrent of letters, many approving and many critical. They are for the most ....

The March to War
February 21, 2003; Page A26
Section: B

The Feb. 15 editorial "Sound and Fury" concluded, "Even if others lose their nerve, the United States must ensure that this time the dictator suffers the 'serious consequences' that are due." Apparently the editors find the case against an invasion of Iraq false. However, world opinion -- as well as opinion here at home -- suggests otherwise. The Post's literary allusionists might recall that the words "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound ....

Posted by Mary at August 13, 2004 12:26 AM | Media | Technorati links |