FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Times Confesses…Kind Of

by JOHN L. HESS

Halleluya! On this 26th day of May, 2004. The New York Times confessed to having helped promote the lies that got us into war with Iraq.

This being the Times, it didn’t put it that forthrightly. First it told us how wonderful its coverage had been — it’s not offering to give up any of those Pulitzers. Like Colin Powell it says it gathered the best intelligence available. But some of it didn’t hold up. As Rumsfeld says, things happen.

In hindsight, the editors say they should have been more skeptical about the crud being fed them, notably by Ahmed Chalabi and his helpers. They admit they would lead the paper with his scoops, and then, if they felt obliged at all to mention that one hadn’t panned out, they would bury that news inside.

As, in fact they did with this correction. Insided. Remember the huge fuss the Times made over the petty lies of Jayson Blair? As I said on this news hour that day and again in my memoir, Blair hurt nobody but the Times, whereas the paper continued to carry the byline of Chalabi’s notorious mouthpiece, Judith Miller. She is not identified in yesterday’s confession, either.

For great takeouts on her war record, and that of the Times, I urge you to check out the websites of Counterpunch and Extra!, the bulletin of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. And stay tuned.

Climate Shift

I tell you, the climate has changed. A year ago, I guarantee you, the hacks would have been telling us what a pretty speech Dubya just read with hardly a blip. Instead, they nearly all said, Huh? There was nothing in it he hasn’t been saying again and again–no real answer to the questions that have been boiling over –above all, when and how do we get out?.

Liz Bumiller of the Times did what she could, under the headline “Bush Lays Out Goals for Iraq Under Self-Rule and Stability.” It singled out his vow to knock down Saddam Hussein’s prison and his offer to replace it with a new high-security prison. Good old American know-how. Another headline said Dubya swould also give give Iraq a new commander. It took the Times only a thousand words or so to intimate that General Sanchez was being zapped for presiding over tortures in that prison – and getting caught.

The Times editorial was wistful. It said it would have been great if he’d. made that speech a year ago, showing he had a plan.. Well, even without it, the Times (and the rest of the big media) backed his war and still does. But I repeat, the climate has changed. Note that the best-seller list back then was dominated by mad hawks. Hardly any of them are still there. Instead, we have half a dozen best-sellers that offer ample evidence for the impeachment of Bush.

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

 

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail