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May 27, 2004

Ahmed Chalabi, meet Jayson Blair

This story in the SF Gate mentions a story in the NY Times about a number of stories that were published by the SF Chronicle about the Iraq war that may turn out to be less than accurate. (Thanks for that Heavy Meta category!)

Here's an excerpt from the NY Times article:

The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.

The NY Times goes on to discuss their own poor fact checking, willingness of the editiorial staff to go for the scoop, downplaying of subsequent information that questioned the veracity of previous published reports...

There's this, too:

It is still possible that chemical or biological weapons will be unearthed in Iraq, but in this case it looks as if we, along with the administration, were taken in. And until now we have not reported that to our readers.

It's unclear what inspired the NY Times to look in the mirror, though the defrocking of Chalabi is likely to have something to do with it. I'm pleased to see that the Times is taking some responsiblity, but it's not enough, it's just not enough. Questions remain.

What the hell is going on at the NY Times when Ahmed Chalabi, the (previously) US annointed heir to the throne in Iraq is a more credible source of information about Iraq's WMD program than Hans Blix? Where's the independent reporting? What does the press think it's job is during this war? Has the media really turned into an arm of the White House propoganda machine?

I get that I'm late to the table on this issue and that reporting has been of questionable quality ever since the Bush administration muzzled the White House press corp. But I find this news about the NY Times as depressing as anything I've read lately. It's like finding out someone I love has been lying to me. How could I have been so naiive?

Posted by pam at May 27, 2004 06:12 AM | TrackBack
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