June 20, 2004

Why Is This So Hard?

After the commission staff released its findings Wednesday that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda -- challenging an assertion Bush and Vice President Cheney have made for the past two years -- Bush declared again that there was, in fact, a relationship.

Dana Milbank in today's WaPo.

Look, you don't have to be a charter member of the Laurie Mylroie crowd, spouting off about Prague intrigues, to accept that Bush/Cheney aren't lying on this issue.

Here's 9/11 Commission vice-chair Democrat Lee Hamilton:

I must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this. The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that. What we have said is what the governor just said, we don't have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between Saddam Hussein's government and these al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn, the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me.

Again, why is this so hard?

Do I think Cheney should cool it a bit on Prague/Atta?

Yeah, probably.

But do I think he was right to lambast the NYT's earlier handling of this story?

Yeah, I do.

Their treatment of the story was constitutive of hyperbolic media bias--pure and simple.

By the way, back over at the WaPo, Milbank goes on to suggest that Kerry might use some of the 9/11 Commission findings to wound Bush politically.

I'm not so sure.

9/11 was the biggest tragedy to hit the continental United States since the Civil War.

It's not a political football--particularly as the attack was being planned during Clinton's time in office.

Kerry should tread very carefully on this issue, in my humble opinion.

UPDATE: A NYT retraction, of sorts!

Posted by Gregory at June 20, 2004 02:00 PM

Kerry cannot tread carefully or he'll lose his constituency. Al Gore is showing the way with his wildman antics. To keep his troops behind him, Kerry must go all out, damn the facts! That's the only way to inspire his following.

Posted by: Fletcher at June 20, 2004 04:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks for writing this. I was also shocked to see the spin when the newspapers came out with their stories.

But now the big question becomes: How many of us will realize the increasing disconnect between reality and reporting? Has NYT/ABC/Hollywood/etal blown the influence they might otherwise have in November? At what rate are people (particularly likely voters) realizing that BigMedia is a crock?

Posted by: a reader at June 20, 2004 05:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I was amazed at the 9/11 Commission staff report, where the staff incorporated the input of two captured prominent al Qaeda members to underscore their contentions. The al Qaeda training manuals and leadership included disinformation as a major part of their Jihad.

VP Cheney is right to challenge the Atta Prague matter. The best the staff report can argue is that calls where made from Atta's cell phone during his alleged Prague trip. But, given that anyone can place a cell phone call on someone else's phone, it hardly refutes the Praque meeting claim. Moreover, the Prague intelligence has never refuted their claim of the meeting, and recently discovered records in Iraq from an Iraqi intelligence officer support the Praque meeting.

I suspect that this is part of what VP Cheney was alluding to when he suggested that the 9/11 Commission may lack some important information.

On another note, I have challenged many theorists that claim President Bush and VP Cheney directly linked Saddam with 9/11 as a pretense for war to come forward with proof. Nothing has been forthcoming to date.

Posted by: Capt America at June 20, 2004 07:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dick Cheney a good man and I trust him, I also sleep better with this man as VP. So far Kerry can't even decide or find a VP to his taste, would I want an indecisive person like that at the helm? Think NOT

Posted by: GR Weicheld at June 20, 2004 08:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's been obvious for a while that the lamestream media haven't been reporting anything resembling the truth.

But its becoming more and more blatant. That, actually, is a good thing.

Posted by: Eric Blair at June 20, 2004 10:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This will kill ya. Studies are underway in journalistic circles to determine whether the media really is liberal. Problem is they will be conducted by . . . journalists! One sticking point is when news people describe themselves as moderates that is in comparison with other journos. So a moderate journalist is still leftist by real world definitions and a liberal is someone who works at the NYTimes, LATimes, WaPo, etc. And let's not even talk about the "news" magazines. Trust but verify. It worked with the Soviets.

Posted by: Jerry at June 21, 2004 03:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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