Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, February 12, 2003  

While we're talkin media, there's a great study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting about the failure of the press to look critically at Colin Powell's claims about Iraq. It begins:

In reporting on Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the United Nations Security Council, many journalists treated allegations made by Powell as though they were facts. Reporters at several major outlets neglected to observe the journalistic rule of prefacing unverified assertions with words like "claimed" or "alleged."

This is of particular concern given that over the last several months, many Bush administration claims about alleged Iraqi weapons facilities have failed to hold up to inspection. In many cases, the failed claims-- like Powell's claims at the U.N.-- have cited U.S. and British intelligence sources and have included satellite photos as evidence.

Catching the administration in a lie has become sort of a parlor game for liberals. So if you missed the report, you can impress your friends with some of the new ones FAIR uncovered. (Go to the article for specifics.)

FAIR has another report that reiterates Colin Powell's somewhat checkered history with the truth. It is noteworthy to mention these facts (which include arms shipments during Iran-Contra, civilian killings in Nicaragua, and the Panama invasion) because the main reason Powell was selected to float the US claims was because of his credibility. The Bush administration felt it needed someone who was pretty much untouchable in the media so that tricky questions about the claims wouldn't be asked. (A fun game is to imagine Rumsfeld behind the mic, presenting the same "evidence." Doesn't seem quite as credible, does it?)

posted by Jeff | 10:34 AM |
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