Here are two competing visions of the media handling of the war in Iraq
This is the way it works at the eye doctor. He holds letters in front of your eyes and asks you to choose. The answer gets better and better, hopefully vision more and more clear.
This is a piece by Greg Mitchell, substantially published by The Nation, after being spiked by the Washington Post
For awhile, back in 2003, Iraq meant never having to say you’re sorry. The spring offensive had produced a victory in less than three weeks, with a relatively low American and Iraqi civilian death toll. Saddam fled and George W. Bush and his team drew overwhelming praise, at least here at home.
But wait. Where were the crowds greeting us as “liberators”? Why were the Iraqis now shooting at each other–and blowing up our soldiers? And where were those WMDs, bio-chem labs, and nuclear materials? Most Americans still backed the invasion, so it still too early for mea culpas–it was more “my sad” than “my bad.”
A story by Paul Fahri published on the Opinion Pages
There’s no doubt that many news organizations, including this one, missed important stories, underplayed others that were skeptical of the administration’s case and acted too deferentially to those in power. A few instances — such as the New York Times’ September 2002 report hyping Iraq’s aluminum tubes as evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program — have become infamous. The Times and The Washington Post have publicly examinedand admitted their shortcomings.
But “failure” grossly oversimplifies what the media did and didn’t do before the war, and it ignores important reasons the reporting turned out the way it did. As new threats loom, from Iran to North Korea, better understanding these circumstances can help us assess what happened and whether we’re better positioned today.
Can they both be right? I don’t think so. Somebody will need new glasses.