My Exchange with CNN’s Aaron Brown

by STEVE PHILION

[Editor’s Note: The following is an email exchange between CounterPuncher STEVE PHILION and CNN’s Aaron Brown, which took place after Brown’s January 25th interview with David Kay, the Quixotic weapons inspector whose quest turned up nothing.]

Steve: Mr. Brown, Now that it is clear that Mr. Ritter was right, will you let him back on your program and concede to him that he should have been an expert analyst at CNN? Imagine if CNN had used him instead of Ken Pollack as an expert witness, how smart you guys would have looked now. OK, I know, the trumped up charges against him…well there was always Ray McGovern or Dilip Hiro or to counter the prowar gullibility at CNN…

Aaron Brown responds:

well, no. First because the two men served entirely different functions. Second, Mr. Ritter received plenty of air time with us and on other networks.

thanks

a

Steve responds:

Ritter received not one tenth of the coverage of Kay before the invasion began. and, it turns out that Ritter was correct, Kay was entirely wrong in his reading of the Bush/Blair "evidence".

Brown responds:

To me this is a silly, retrospective argument. Mr. Ritter, in my view, received more than enough coverage. I get that you disagree. But further you write as if he was the only person making the case. He wasn’t.

Steve responds:

I disagree with the characterization of my argument as ‘silly’. Ritter received less coverage and when he was interviewed he was not taken nearly as seriously as Kay, who received far more coverage and was taken far more seriously. Now that Ritter has been proven correct in his analysis, he deserves recognition of that fact. Not all former inspectors were wrong like Mr. Kay in their analysis before the war. Those that were correct deserve to be recognised as such I believe, especially since Kay was used by the Bush administration before the war to counter credible and critical analysts of the hyped wmd claims.

your recollection of the large number of critical analysts interviewed before the war doesn’t quite work I’m afraid. If you’ll recall, to take but one example, after the Powell speech the mantra in the media, be it CNN, FOX, NPR, was ‘brilliant speech, brilliant speech’. In Britain meanwhile, the British public was exposed to point by point rebuttals by analysts like Glenn Rangwala (who exposed the plagiarised dossier and Powell’s numerous mistaken allegations) and Ritter. The difference, in the end, is the British public had far greater access to a critique of Powell’s errors.

I challenge you to find any such exposure to criticisms of Powell’s speech on your program or the rest of CNN at the time. How I wish it were silly to lament that Ritter’s analysis received less serious consideration than Kay in the runup to the invasion.

steve

Aaron Brown responds:

I get it. I disagree. In truth part of the problem with Ritter’s argument was Ritter himself. He was damaged goods in some respects. But I’m not going to argue the point. You can look at the program;’s transcripts and see what we did, who we talked to and the questions we asked.

a

Steve responds: I appreciate your willlingness to engage this discussion, I’ll make this my last response, I’m sure you have other work to take care of. on the one hand it is possible to accept the idea that Ritter was ‘damaged goods’ (reference the murky allegations of improper email contact with minors), if we accept that Kay likewise was damaged goods as an exposed CIA operative when he was in Iraq. At the same time, it was entirely possible at the time to replace Ritter with Rangwala or the CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who were similarly able to make the case against Kay’s faulty analysis of the WMD claims.

In any event, it remains a fact that Ritter, Rangwala, and McGovern were correct, Kay, Pollack, Clark were dead wrong on the WMD claims. hopefully next time around CNN can hire an analyst who is a critic of the march to war before the invasion begins, for the sake of balance and informed debate.

Steve

STEVE PHILION lives in Minneapolis. He can be reached at: philion@hawaii.edu

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire