Thursday, March 7, 2013

NYT Editorial Page: Refuge For Iraq War Hawks

I give the man tremendous credit for printing Paul Krugman. But I'm not sure one great columnist is enough to absolve Andrew Rosenthal of employing (at various times) Tom Friedman, David Brooks, and the criminally incompetent William Kristol.  That's three borderline sociopathic Iraq war hawks to have had prominent regular columnist gigs at the Times in the post-war period. 
You'd never know from his writings over the past few years, but New York Times pundit David Brooks was a full-throated hawk for the tragic U.S. invasion of Iraq and swallowed all of the Bush administration claims  about WMD whole.   He attempted to muddy the waters, long ago, after WMD were not found and the "liberation" proved to be a disaster by blaming the post-invasion disaster all on Rumsfeld, perhaps figuring that if he became known as a war critic folks would forget that he'd promoted the conflict from the beginning.  Not a chance, in my case.   Brooks, meet elephant.
While we're on the subject of the Times and shameful Iraq War media fuckups, I'd be remiss in leaving out this second Greg Mitchell piece on the sorry roles of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, Jill Abramson, Bill Keller and various and sundry other reporters and editors.
But Executive Editor Bill Keller continued to defend the editors' note, and blamed "overwrought" critics for overreacting to the Times' WMD coverage. Asked why he finally published the editors' note, Keller (quoted in The Washington Post) replied: "Mainly because it was a distraction. This buzz about our coverage had become a kind of conventional wisdom, much of it overwrought and misinformed."

With his managing editor, Jill Abramson, he penned a memo to staffers explaining that the critique in the paper was “not an attempt to find a scapegoat or to blame reporters for not knowing then what we know now.”

The problem of course was that certain reporters ignored, or only paid lip service to, evidence that “we know now” but was often also available then.
To this day I wonder if Dick Cheney could have sold us that disastrous war without the complicity of Judy Miller and Bill Keller.

Greg Mitchell's book So Wrong For So Long: How The Press, The Pundits - and The Media - Failed On Iraq is a good read on the utter malpractice of the Fourth Estate in the runup to the war in Iraq.  And a brand new edition is available for Kindle.

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