'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Credit Where Credit is Due ... (Knight Ridder Still Kicking Ass)

In a functioning democracy, when the population is asked to make a hard and important decision, such as whether to go to war, the role of the media is to facilitate a national discussion, presenting various sides of the issue, relevant commentary and analysis, providing a forum for debate, etc. In the case of the run up to the Iraq war this simply did not happen. The media served as a middleman between the American people and the Bush administration's propaganda department, notably the neoconservative HQ, the Office of Special Plans, see for the example "Now They Tell Us" from the NY Review of Books for documentation about the OSP's influence on the media or the LA Times recent "Special Pentagon Unit Left CIA Out of the Loop" for general information regarding the OSP's role and power.

Throughout this whole sordid affair only the Knight Ridder news service (and maybe the LA Times) has even come close to doing its job. This fact has been noticed and commented upon by a number of sources; for instance, here, in Editor & Publisher, and in the NYRB article cited above.

Anyway, today there was another nice KR piece, this time about Cheney's lies: (from "CIA says Cheney was wrong")

CIA Director George Tenet on Tuesday rejected recent assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney that Iraq had cooperated with the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Tenet also rejected Cheney's statements that the administration had proof of an illicit Iraqi biological warfare program.

Tenet's comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee were expected to fuel friction between the White House and intelligence agencies over the failure to find any of the banned weapons stockpiles that President Bush, in justifying his case for war, charged Saddam Hussein with concealing.

Tenet at first appeared to defend the administration, saying that he did not think the White House misrepresented intelligence provided by the CIA. The administration's statements, he said, reflected a prewar intelligence consensus that Hussein had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear bombs.

But under sharp questioning by Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, Tenet reversed himself, saying there had been instances when he had warned administration officials that they were misstating the threat posed by Iraq.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you what my interaction was ... and what I did and didn't do, except that you have to have confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it," Tenet said. "I don't stand up publicly and do it."

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