Last week was the tenth anniversary of Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction on February 5, 2003. It remains difficult for me to even think about the political climate of the year long run-up to the invasion of Iraq without feeling stabby all over again. We don't need to rehash the number of levels on which all of the claims and "evidence" used to grease the wheels of the war machine were either wrong or outright lies – I believe the WMDs turned out to be two donkeys and a crate of Sparklers – but we owe it to ourselves to remember how badly the media collectively failed us.

Not one major newspaper or news network responded to Powell's theatrics with anything remotely approaching skepticism. The obsequious, totally credulous editorials read like Onion articles today. The NY Times was probably the soberest, merely noting that "Mr. Powell's speech 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." The Washington Post, in contrast, titled its staff editorial "Irrefutable", noting that "it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction." On the same page, Richard Cohen stated that, "The evidence he presented to the United Nations – some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail – had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool – or possibly a Frenchman – could conclude otherwise.” Ha ha! The French are pussies! WaPo's foreign policy "expert" Jim Hoaglund helpfully chimed in, "To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don’t believe that. Today, neither should you."

Hoagland and Cohen still have the same jobs today. Because, you know, why wouldn't they? If you think shame prevents them from writing about the need to invade Iran and eliminate its nuclear weapons, Google them and prepare for a shock.

I propose that every year, February 5 should serve as the Yom Kippur of American journalism – a total TV news blackout for 24 hours while the editors, producers, on-air talent, fact checkers, and other assorted minions devote themselves to confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness. Newspapers will run the headline, "We failed and it cost 100,000 lives" and no content except detailed descriptions of every pre-war claim that turned out to be false or fabricated but was reported anyway without any corroboration beyond "anonymous government sources." The next day the news industry will return to being the same cacophony of nonsense that it was in 2003 and remains today. But for one day, everyone will be forced to confront the truth, to spend the day in radio silence thinking about their actions and the consequences. Maybe – just maybe – a few more Americans in the media and among the general public will pause and ask a critical question or two the next time a war-hungry administration and their fawning fans in the news industry start cheerleading the nation into another trillion dollar, decade-long war that costs tens of thousands of lives.

It's ridiculous, I know. A boy can dream, though.

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43 Responses to “DAY OF ATONEMENT”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    Your point is well taken, but there's a flip-side. At some point, I expect the media, as an aggregate, to just collectively go off on us:

    "Look, assholes, our industry has been economically unfeasible for over 15 years. Print media is dead, and televised media sold its soul to the 24 hour paradigm long ago. There are no more investigative journalists. None. They either died or found work in more lucrative fields–like giving hand-jobs to carnies behind the Funnel Cake stand. All we can do to hold on by our fingernails is to sensationalize the shit out of everything and to prop a crumbling government up with the kind of sis-boom-bah shit that plays well to the only people who still pay to read our stuff: the elderly-as-fuck. So stop whining that 'we lied to you'–DC Comics doesn't 'lie' when it tells stories about Superman, and we don't 'lie' when we funnel unadulterated propaganda to morons willing to pay for it. We know it's bullshit, they know it's bullshit–but it's what they want, and, unlike you, they send us money every so often. If you wanted us to do independent research, question the official version of events, or simply give two shits, you should have kept your subscriptions. But you didn't. You quit on us because you figured you could get the same quality of product on-line, for free. Well, guess what, dickwads? You can't. You all got what you were willing to pay for: dick. And when you pay for dick, don't be shocked when you get fucked."

  2. Middle Seaman Says:

    Why should Cohen and Hoagland be ashamed? They are rarely correct; most of what they write makes sense; the same holds for the clown at the NYT.

    Now, what the hell do you want?

  3. Jane Says:

    J. Dryden has a point. The blogosphere has taken over fact checking, and bloggers don't have megaphones. Or salaries. (Thanks, Ed!)

    I read something really depressing yesterday – social mobility isn't falling. It's just the same as it always was in all societies except when the US was giving out land for free to white men, 1850-1880 or so. Otherwise, it seems to be a constant. 0.7-0.8 correlation between inherited advantage and achieved advantage as an adult. Social status is determined at conception, close enough.

    Moving from disadvantaged to average, or from privileged to average, takes about 300-500 years. So the family of the carpenter descendant of RIchard III of England took about the right amount of time to go "normal", or 550 years. Some of the research was done by using unusual surnames to track families. — and I read the cited research as well – slow Sunday with laundry and a cold. Depressing. The latest article, dated January 2013, covers the other articles fairly well.

  4. Leon Says:

    I remember being duped just enough to believe Saddam had WMD, but not that he posed a credible threat to the States. I therefore continued to be anti-war, and had to suffer through probably one of the worst experiences of my life the day the Iraq debacle began: a crowded bar in a blizzard-ravaged Denver that erupted into jingoistic cheers when Bush's chimpy mug came on TV with promises of bloodshed-for what? Daddy issues? Oil? Oh yeah, brown people=terrorists, I forgot. When it came out that there were, in fact, no WMDs or uranium tubes to be found, I was not surprised. That people continued to argue that the war was somehow worth it was a bit more surprising. But it's hard to let a little thing like the truth discourage one from their preconceived notions.

    Our media is clearly shite, and I think Dryden nailed a bug part of it in his post above. If you don't want to pay for news, the advertisers will. But who are we kidding? The advertisers always did foot most of the bill. It's just getting worse and more noticeable as the years go on.

    I think a very telling example of the media's sham of 'journalism' can be seen by the fact that I follow the local police blotter on twitter, and any crime story in the local paper is the police report verbatim. No additional quotes or anything done on their own. Also no mention of the fact that they're just parroting what the cops already said. Just unfiltered, unattributed 'news' for your passive consumption.

  5. eau Says:

    @Dryden: It's really more of chicken-and-egg viscious cycle than a flipside. Like politics, the history of journalism is one of knee-pads and brown noses, patrons and propaganda.

    I occasionally hear rumours of a time (the 70s? 80s? Nobody seems to be able to remember exactly when) that we the public demanded better, but I'm not sure I believe these rumours.

  6. Arslan Says:

    Come on people, we all know that a free press(that is a capitalist press owned by private enterprises) is the guardian of democracy. We all know this because…well…journalists tell us this all the time. In any case, we all know this story could not have possibly happened because in a free market society, journalists and publications who write bad stories would be weeded out as consumers vote with their wallets. Oh wait, this DID happen? Well then we don't have REAL capitalism then!

  7. Zebbidie Says:

    I was working somewhere at the time with a guy who was one of those internationally connected consultants (you know 5 languages, Masters degree, worked in 6 different countries, debonair, not yet 30) and there was a mock powerpoint sent around, purporting to be Powell's. As I recall it had pictures of Army Men &tm; and toy vehicles posed in a garden setting with lurid claims of what Iraqi WMD they were.

    Point being that the elites of the time saw straight away it was bullshit and were mocking it around the world. But they never said anything publicly.

  8. Freeportguy Says:

    The only areas where people are skeptical? Conservatives on EVERYTHING non-conservative.

  9. Anonymouse Says:

    There's a fantasy that the media in the USA is "lib'rul", but it's certainly been anything but since Chimpy the Wonder Puppet, and possibly before. Of course the claims of WMD were pure baloney; any weapons Ronnie Raygun gave to his buddy Saddam Hussein in the 1980s had long since degraded into uselessness by the late 1990s. But that was never the point, really; it was to make Cheney's company Halliburton rich with no-bid contracts and to give the brain-impaired conservatives their bread and circuses.

  10. c u n d gulag Says:

    Under a different administration, one that didn't panic, and one that didn't actively want war(s), Colin Powell could have redeamed his post-My Lai involvement in the cover-up of that massacre.

    From the wiki on My Lai:
    "Colin Powell, then a 31-year-old Army major, was charged with investigating the letter, which did not specifically reference Mỹ Lai (Glen had limited knowledge of the events there). In his report, Powell wrote, "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between Americal Division[34] soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." Powell's handling of the assignment was later characterized by some observers as "whitewashing" the atrocities of Mỹ Lai.[35] In May 2004, Powell, then United States Secretary of State, told CNN's Larry King, "I mean, I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored."[36]"

    And after 9/11 (if that even happened under a less stupid and inept administration), Powell could have been a transformative SoS, like George Marshall, and worked on his "Powell Plan" to try to restructure the Middle East in a beneficial way, like we did Europe and Japan.

    Instead, he ended up more like Ollie North – a total disgrace.

    I was living in NC at that time, and our local paper was a part of Knight Ridder (now McClatchy), and they had by far and away the best coverage on the whole BS build-up to the needless Iraq War, and the epically bungled occupation afterwards.

    Knight Ridder called them on their BS.
    And you know why they were able to do that?
    Because their headquarters at the time wasn't in a media center like NY or DC, so their journalists, REAL ones, weren't embedded with the DC Villagers, and their inbred rah-rah, gung-ho, 'I'll say or do anything you want to make you love me, and invite me to your next cocktail party" mentality.

    The feckin' idiots at Politico, if it was around then, would have been coated head-to-toe in the sperm and fecal matter of the " government sources" they wanted to pleasure to get their "scoop" – that "scoop" being the exact propaganda that those "government sources" wanted out there, to help them drum up the war(s) they so desperately craved – with no pleasuring even necessary.

    So, we still DO have some good journalism.
    Unfortunately, it's McClatchy, and bloggers like the ones at TPM, and Crooks and Liers, and other websites.

    Outside of McClatchy, which I still read on the internet if something big's going on, newspapers have decided to be stenographers for the rich and powerful.
    And the Cable TV news channels, with the exception of MSNBC in the evenings, and weekend mornings, are outright prostitutes for the rich and powerful.
    (What's amazing to me, isn't the fact that our politicians and MSM members can be bought – it's how CHEAPLY they can be bought).

    Bush and his mis-adminstration got the wars they wanted.

    He and his VP, His Satanic Majesty, Dick Cheney, and the rest of "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight," who didn't resign for more lucrative jobs, stayed for the full 2 terms.

    The punTWIT's who led us into the wars, are still punTWITTING away in the same, or better jobs.

    Upwards of a million, or more, Iraqi's are dead, wounded, tortured, and/or displaced.

    America had thousands of soldiers die needlessly, ten and tens of thousands wounded, and countless others now with assorted mental trauma's and PTSD – all from getting into a war that a wastrel son waged, to try to prove to his Daddy that HIS dick was bigger than Dad's.

    No one lost their jobs – except for some people in the MSM who didn't go along with Bush and his BS "Doctrine" of preemptive war. Their scepticism cost them their jobs, while the lackey's and butt-boys-and-girls became "stars."

    No one's in jail.

    No lessons were learned in the MSM.

    And so, the politicians, punTWIT's, and other lackey's and butt-boys-and-girls in our MSM are free to speculate about Iran, "Or, like, whatever, you know…"

    And the lesson(s) learned in all of this?
    No consequences.
    That does not bode well for our future…

  11. anotherbozo Says:

    Every time someone quotes one pundit or another about the persuasiveness of Colin Powell's presentation at the U.N., I want to remind them that there were 50,000 of us in Noo Yawk (and millions more around the globe) skeptical enough to march in the bone-freezing cold at the time (Bloomberg, who has been mayor forever, wouldn't let us march directly in front of the U.N. so we had to make a serpentine around it). Thousands of us were convinced that the intel was cooked—the stench from the White House reached all the way here. Others at least demanded Hans Blix be allowed to finish his inspection.

    But all that "certainty" leading up to the invasion? Give me a break. If Tom Friedman told me the sky was up, I'd need corroboration from other sources. (You may notice, by the way, he's still working for the Times).

  12. JohnR Says:

    " badly the media collectively failed us."
    Well, the media collectively have been a massive failure ever since the GOP realized that Nixon's Downfall was due in large part to a reckless and unrestrained media, and set about making sure it couldn't happen again. I think the vague memories of an active media may reflect that bygone era when every major city had 2, 3 or even more newspapers of various social and political leanings, so one could get a range of news (or simply read the equivalent of Fox every morning). Shoot, here in Baltimore, we still had both a morning and evening edition of the main newspaper as late as about 30 years ago, and the secondary newspaper struggled on into the eighties, iirc. Sure, papers like the NYT and the WSJ used to take pride in presenting a relatively straightforward 'news' content, but it was never as "clean" as we might like to think. The fishwrap formerly known as the Washington Post, of course, has only rarely been anything more than an inflated version of a small-town, navel-gazing, vanity publication. It's still trying hard to live down its roll in the petty and mean-spirited upheaval that brought down Nixon (not that he didn't deserve it – after all, he was so sweaty, and simply boring at the Right Sort of parties; not like that divine Mr. Reagan!).
    Nowadays newspapers generally view their role as primarily entertainment, but even where "news" is still nominally important, the ownership is generally careful to make sure that the reporting is acceptable to the Right Sort of people. If you want to get a range of information, you have to use the internet, and to a significant extent, go to non-US sources. It's not terribly different from the hey-day of papers, just that the effort involved is somewhat greater than simply taking out subscriptions.
    Sure, the Bush administration lied continuously and in the largest possible terms; even good old Goebbels would have been impressed at the way they took "the Big Lie" idea and ran with it. Still, why was that a surprise? It was clear to the meanest intelligence from early on that these guys were almost completely dishonest, and that the members of the press were not going to rock the boat by actually reporting on it. For the most part, the excesses of the Great Clenis Hunt had left them temporarily sated, but also Freedom! Manly Virtue! Integrity! and all the rest of the shrewd PR effort. Poor Nixon; they would never had rolled over like that for him, and I suspect that even at his most paranoid, he would have refused to allow the shenanigans that the stunningly disinterested Bush was only too happy to let Cheney's Gang do. Say what you like about Nixon; he was interested in doing the job of President as he saw it, unlike Bush, who only wanted to _be_ President, but had no interest whatsoever in doing anything hard.

  13. Lecturer Says:

    As a note, Iraq was not the first, or even the second or third time that America went to war based on a casus belli that was something of a fib.

    1) Mexican-American War ("American blood on American soil.")
    2) Spanish-American War ("Remember the Maine!")
    3) Vietnam (The North Vietnamese totes attacked us in the Gulf of Tonkin.)
    4) And then Iraq.

    Basically if there's a war that a determined enough faction of America's elites wants, they'll get that war, facts be damned. And it usually happens every sixty-odd years.

  14. Sarah Says:

    J. Dryden does indeed have a point. To paraphrase John Scalzi, there is a direct correlation between writers getting paid for their writing, and those writers actually sitting on their butts and doing the writing. Don't think it's worth paying full salaries to writers who spent years honing their craft, who spent years getting educated in classrooms and in the field? Think that writing is an "easy" job that anybody can do? Fine. Don't be surprised when your news ends up getting delivered by high school dropouts who have barely moved beyond second-graders writing stories about their bunnies and their kitties.

  15. Major Kong Says:

    The war was a done deal by the fall of 2002 and probably as early as the spring of 2002.

    We don't move 150,000 troops plus air and naval assets plus all the required supplies halfway around the world as a "show of force". It's far too expensive.

    A show of force is a couple carrier battle groups and a small detachment of B-2s.

    When we start moving the heavy stuff, you know there's going to be a war.

  16. xynzee Says:

    CU: "Instead, he ended up more like Ollie North – a total disgrace."

    ¿Qué? What you talkin' about Willis?

    Ollie is still a darling on the Right. He's even been brought in to help in their recruitment drives i.e. CoD.

    Powell has burnt his bridges on both sides. Remember how he backed "colour over Party"? So he's made himself persona non-gratta there.

    I still prefer him. Even the GCoS knew from the beginning that Iraq was a cluster waiting to happen if they went in. They knew that it would take on a whole new level of pear-shaped from the get-go. When cRummy put it to them, they told him they would need 550,000+ troops to go in and *take* Iraq.

    cRummy and Co wanted a bargain basement invasion. They found some yes-man of a tank battalion leader, who said he could do the job with 80,000 troops.

    So the peter principle was at work here. Why wasn't this guy in the senior officer corp despite his heroics in GW-I? He obviously lacked those supreme character traits that would be expected to be found at the general level. Oh, say the ability to ask the all important "Next Question".

    He hadn't bothered to ask what would happen *AFTER* he rolled his tank column into down-town Bagdad. If he had, then like the GCoS, he would have realised that 80,000 bodies would not be any where near enough to shut a country the size of Iraq down and *secure* it.
    The answer is closer to 550,000 bodies give or take 20,000 and they'd probably ask for the extra 20 just to be on the safe side.

    As for the media… right now I find it's too much to ask that the outlets get their grammar correct. Most of the time the stories are like a status up date or a twit. Is it too much to ask that they check for things like *then* when they mean *than*? Apparently it is, so I won't hold out for much in the way of content.

    I'm often reminded of a comic that went around during GW-I. All of the majors had their cameras trained on a TV with the CNN logo on it. Not much has changed, as all the media outlets seem to just rehash everyone else's hash.

  17. bb in GA Says:

    A name that needs to be brought up…

    The late General John Kalikashvili…former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Bubba the First. He spent a lot of time in northern Iraq post Desert Storm.

    'Shali told me at lunch there were "no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." None. He also told me that he had called Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell (Shali's former boss) and other top Bush administration people to tell them emphatically there were NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This was two months before the invasion.'

    I think he publicly allowed how it would take 200-300k forces to pacify Iraq successfully and take years.

    RIP General


  18. Graham Says:

    And does everyone remember the huge multi-storeyed bunkers of which Rumsfeld assured us there were dozens in Afghanistan? There were cartoon drawings and everything.

  19. Grung_e_Gene Says:

    Ann Coulter recently appeared on Kudlow and stated of course we found WMD in Iraq. So, shows you!

    The War Machine requires Our Children and Checkbooks only a commie would deny the need grease, Our Life's Blood, for it's rapacious wheels.

  20. Major Kong Says:

    Just to show the poor state of the Iraqi military circa 2002:

    I was Operations Officer of a KC-135 detachment flying ONW in late 2002.

    At that time the Iraqi Air Force had maybe 10 flyable aircraft on any given day due to parts shortages. Of those 10 they might launch 2 or 3 training sorties per day.

    If they were really feeling frisky they might send a MiG-25 up towards the no-fly zone just to see if we were paying attention.

    One day, by pure coincidence, the Marine EA-6B flying Northern Watch turned on its jammers at the same time its Southern Watch counterpart did. This shut down the entire Iraqi air defense system.

    We didn't invade Iraq because they were strong. We invaded them because they were weak.

  21. Major Kong Says:

    Oh, and be sure to mark your calendars. bb and I are in complete agreement for once.

  22. Mo Says:

    c. gulag – that's it, "no consequences." Chris Hayes only scratched the surface with Twilight of the Elites.

    Why are we so willing to go along oblivious to every outrage and never, ever make the effort to put someone's tail in the wringer when they so richly deserve it for turning our lives into shit?

    Oh. Answering that might be work. Never mind.

  23. bensbias Says:

    Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
    Who by sword and who by wild beast,
    Who by famine and who by thirst,
    Who by earthquake and who by plague,
    Who by strangulation and who by stoning

  24. mothra Says:

    Ah, Richard Cohen. I'd like to beat him senseless with a rolled-up copy of the Post. I read a recent column of his supporting torture. Again. Because, you know, he saw "Zero Dark Thirty" and that movie proved that torture worked.

    Brainless fucker.

  25. RosiesDad Says:


    Unetaneh Tokef. Perfect.

    Ed: If the media was to black out for 24 hours, who's to say if we would have them back in the 25th hour?

  26. Noshoes Says:

    Yes, Ed, yes.

  27. Southern Beale Says:

    My favorite moment from when the U.S. media lost it's collective mind is this one in which then-CNN correspondent Connie Chung attacked tennis star Martina Navratilova for daring question our motivations for war.

  28. cromartie Says:

    With all due respect @Dryden, you're disdain for the media doesn't go back nearly far enough. I would suggest digging up a Mike Stanton article that provides, in graphic detail, the decline and fall of the investigative reporting unit of the Providence Journal Bulletin for a nice anecdotal story about what happened to media as it became progressively more deregulated and consolidated.

    One can go back as far as the first JOAs in the mid 1980s and the consolidation that was sped up by the loosening of ownership standards during the Reagan Administration and see this coming. The sale of broadcast networks to public entities, the conversion of the print industries from family run businesses to publicly traded conglomerates, the sale of radio stations at 15 times annual cash flow. The people who stepped in with Chicago School of Economics backgrounds were determined to wring every last drop of short term ad revenue out of these assets by squeezing out labor and shifting editorial focus toward the most marketable demographic, and all of that started before the internet came along to clean out their clocks. Lowery Mays said it best "we aren't a radio company, we're an advertising company." Look at what that's done for Clear Channel.

    Everything that happened after that, the internet usurpance of newspaper advertising, the Fox Newsification of television, the irrelevance of radio, was a consequence of those early decisions. You have to go that far back to start assessing the cycle of decline.

    If you hopped a flight to Mumbai, you would be surprised at the prevalent sway of newspapers. The pace of life is different, to be sure, but access to technology exists. The key is that those papers haven't given up on relatively "expensive" investigative journalism. They haven't given up on gearing their news toward the common man, as opposed to the 45+ white person demo that mainstream media caters to here. There is still a poor person's media.

    As for GWII. 13 million people worldwide protested the buildup to the Gulf War, and it earned almost zero coverage in US media. MSNBC had a wall of pictures of soldiers up behind it's anchors. The jingoism rampant on every channel was nauseating and unwatchable.

    (Conversely, the contempt on Peter Mansbridge's face during the CBCs coverage of the same war also rendered it unwatchable. I was reduced to BBC coverage).

    Overall, it was in arguably the lowest point of media coverage in my entire life. In the grand scheme of things, the 00s are best forgotten as quickly as possible.

  29. Edward Says:

    The media distortions about Iraq in 2003 get a lot of attention, but they went on throughout the 1990's. Although the U.S. press was in full-bore propaganda mode, the international press was much more critical of U.S. claims. The United States was collectively putting its fingers in its ears and not listening to the rest of the world. I think Powell's presentation at the U.N. was helped by the fact that Iraq was not allowed to make a rebuttal. What happens at a trial when one side is not allowed to present its case?

  30. Jak the Yak Says:

    Remember remember the 5th of Febtember, the WMD Treason and Plot…

  31. Robert M. Says:

    De-lurking very, very briefly… I was a Yankee sophomore at [large Southern state university] in 2002. I remember very clearly having the following paraphrased conversation with a friend.


    HIM: You saw the Powell thing. If the UN doesn't get behind us, we'll just have to go in alone.

    ME: Well, you're right–I guess it's not very likely that Powell got up in front of the entire world and lied his ass off. But still, even if they have WMDs, they definitely don't have delivery systems.

    HIM: But they could attack Israel!

    ME: Israel is a country with universal military service and a serious chip on its shoulder. Saddam is crazy, not stupid.

    HIM: Well, they could attack Iran!

    ME: I'm sure Iran is aware of that, and they have their own military. Why is it our responsibility?

    HIM: You don't get it. 9/11 changed everything–what if they attack us here?

    ME: So in order to prevent the slim possibility of Iraq successfully smuggling 30-year-old chemical weapons into New York to kill a few hundred people, we're going to march tens of thousands of Americans into easy reach?

    HIM: [Silence]


    A day of atonement, indeed… not all of us were asleep at the wheel, and I don't think there's a political strategist in the country who has correctly estimated how badly that war is going to cost the GOP as my generation attains its political majority.

  32. Misterben Says:

    I don't have anything substantial to add to the original post or the (terrific) comments above. I just want to say that this was a great post and a great example of why I visit this site every day.

  33. Scotius Says:

    Wow Southern Beale. That was quite the find on Glenn Greenwald's part. I've always liked Martina Navratilova and disliked Connie Chung anyways. That is just one of so many examples of how the American media with the exception of McLatchey and some others completely and utterly failed in their basic duty to keep us informed.

  34. John Says:

    I remember Colin Powell's presentation well. I was then newly divorced and living alone, but my parents were visiting me and we all watched it on TV. At the end, I commented by making a statement I thought no one could dispute, which was that he had just made the weakest case I had ever heard. I nearly laughed at how unconvincing he was. I was stunned to discovery my parents nevertheless were totally convinced.

  35. Death Panel Truck Says:

    "Because their headquarters at the time wasn't in a media center like NY or DC…"

    On February 27, 1968, Walter Cronkite went on national television from NYC and called bullshit on LBJ's claim that everything in Vietnam was going just swimmingly. I'm surprised CBS let him do it. That would never happen today. The corporate media would never allow it. Murrow, Severeid, Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite – all the giants of broadcast media are gone, and none of their descendants learned a thing from them.

  36. Death Panel Truck Says:

    "Say what you like about Nixon; he was interested in doing the job of President as he saw it."

    Bullshit. Nixon saw the U.S. as his monarchy, and himself as King Richard. He wiped his ass with the Constitution. He broke laws with impunity, because, as he told David Frost, "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." He escalated the war in Vietnam. He took it into Laos and Cambodia, and bombed the shit out of both countries. He is responsible for nearly half the names on the Vietnam wall. He was a petty, vindictive, paranoid little man who thought the rules didn't apply to him. The sonofabitch found out differently.

  37. Colonel Panik Says:

    The Media, MSM or hometown newspaper even the high school or university
    paper are made up of two parts. Publishing and Editorial.

    Publishing is the money side. The ads, the printers, the news boys and the
    wages paid the workers on the Editorial side. Usually profit driven.

    Editorial is the NEWS. Nobody ever had to say no to some request from
    Publishing for a "enhanced" version of a story. Then the lawyers and MBA's
    took over the money side of the industry and……….

    News for money is a damn poor business model. News for money is a very poor way to present the news.

  38. lcallen3 Says:

    In my lifetime I have seen 2 of theses UN presentations that were supposed to show the evidence for a war, the Colin Powell Iraq speech and Adlai Stevenson's Cuban Missile Crisis presentation. Stevenson showed photo's of nuclear tipped missiles 90 miles from Florida. Powell showed aluminum tubes. After the comparison it was unbelievable that Powell had made the case for an invasion. Why a media filled with my contemporaries came up with the opposite conclusion is incomprehensible.

  39. Auntie Claire's Hand Says:

    What especially struck me when I watched Powell's presentation was CIA director George Tenet sitting behind him, rolling his eyes, fidgeting, rubbing his face and shaking his head the whole time. I thought I must have been imagining the whole thing, it was so crazy-looking. I thought, "That guy doesn't believe a word he's saying either!" The UN diplomats had to know it was all a farce.

    Then later on it comes out that they both claim they were bullied into the whole thing, like that's some kind of excuse.

  40. krissy Says:

    Well at least Colin Powell has atoned for his role (I think)? At that time I remember it was only Democracy Now who managed to question it.

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