FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Press Acquits Itself

A lot of media outlets are now scrutinizing some of the lies told by the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq. Yet the same news organizations are bypassing their own key roles in the marketing of those lies. A case in point is the New York Times.

On Saturday, hours after the indictment of Lewis Libby, the lead editorial of the Times ended by declaring that “the big point Americans need to keep in mind is this: There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” On Sunday, the Times columnist Frank Rich referred to “Colin Powell’s notorious presentation of WMD ‘evidence’ to the UN on the eve of war.”

And so it goes in the opinion section of the New York Times. There’s now eagerness to blast the Bush administration for some aspects of false prewar propaganda — while the newspaper continues to dodge its own crucial role in promoting that propaganda.

Many people have become aware that news articles by Judith Miller and other Times reporters — often splashed on the front page — were conduits for the administration’s deceptive claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The New York Times has portrayed itself as a victim of misinformation, as though a conveyor of falsehoods has scant responsibility.

But bogus news reporting was not the only way that the Times helped to push the United States into invading Iraq. Despite its reputation as a strong opponent of going to war, the paper’s editorial voice capitulated when it was needed most.

Let’s reach down into the Orwellian memory hole and retrieve what the New York Times had to say — in an editorial headlined “The Case Against Iraq” — the day after what Frank Rich now calls Colin Powell’s “notorious presentation.”

The Times declared that Powell “presented the United Nations and a global television audience yesterday with the most powerful case to date that Saddam Hussein stands in defiance of Security Council resolutions and has no intention of revealing or surrendering whatever unconventional weapons he may have.”

The Feb. 6, 2003, editorial by the Times also proclaimed: “President Bush’s decision to dispatch Mr. Powell to present the administration’s case before the Security Council showed a wise concern for international opinion. Since Mr. Bush’s own address to the UN last September, he has kept faith with his commitment to work through the Security Council.”

And the Times editorial gushed: “Mr. Powell’s presentation was all the more convincing because he dispensed with apocalyptic invocations of a struggle of good and evil and focused on shaping a sober, factual case against Mr. Hussein’s regime.”

For a “notorious presentation,” Powell’s performance at the UN got a rave review from a newspaper supposedly objecting to the momentum for war.

Now, while the New York Times is busily clucking at deceptive prewar maneuvers by Dick Cheney’s office, the Times refuses to own up to how effectively the Cheney operation gained its support, from page-one stories about WMDs to editorials assisting Washington’s war makers.

Meanwhile, a distinct rhythm of drumming for a war dance is audible in the present. Consider a statement that appeared a couple of inches under the close of the New York Times editorial declaring on Saturday that “there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” In an editorial just below, the Times flatly stated conjecture as fact: “Iran has a nuclear weapons program.”

NORMAN SOLOMON is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

 

 

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
March 30, 2020
Marshall Auerback
Washington Uses the Pandemic to Create a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Its Cronies
Ron Jacobs
Going After Maduro
Justin Podur
When Economists Try to Solve Health Crises, the Results Can Often be Disastrous
Thomas Knapp
Decarceration: COVID-19 is Opportunity Knocking
Arshad Khan - Meena Miriam Yust
Dying Planet and a Virus Unleashed
William Astore
How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America
Seth Sandronsky
Reclaiming Vacant Homes in the COVID-19 Pandemic
John G. Russell
Racial Profiling Disorder: the All-American Pandemic
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
As the World Tackles the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Raises the Pressure on Venezuela
Laura Flanders
Covid-19: Our Health Crisis is Born of Bigotry
Cesar Chelala
The New World of Coronavirus
Lawrence Wittner
The World’s Major Military and Economic Powers Find Happiness Elusive
Ted Rall
My Dead French Grandfather Helped Me with COVID-19
Rob Okun
A Citizens’ Call to Invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment
Ashar Foley
COVID-19 Proves It: We Need Medicare-for-All
Robert Koehler
The Virus is Our Teacher
Wim Laven
Are You Prepared to Needlessly Die for Your Country?
Jill Richardson
Stay Home, Stay Angry
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What’s Wrong with Ranked Choice Voting
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Sues Trump’s Bureau of Reclamation for Bull Trout Fatalities in Saint Mary-Milk River Irrigation Project on the east Side of Glacier National Park
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail