Sunday, October 30, 2005
The media's failure(s): The mainstream media is lying about Nadagate and it knows it. Some could argue that it is incompetence, but I'm going to go with lying.
Today's Exhibit A is Fox News pundit and NPR "reporter" Juan Williams. During the roundtable discussion on "Fox News Sunday," Brit Hume again tried -- and failed -- to educate the hapless Williams on the world as it is, not how his liberal alternate reality would make it.
Juan Williams: Well, you can try to minimize it all day long, but the fact that you have Scooter Libby, the deputy, the guy who was so involved in terms of creating a justification for going to war. And then, in the posture of trying to smear a critic of that justification I think is pretty revealing. And I think pretty damaging to the Bush White House. And I think they're gonna have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American people. And that's why when Brit asks this question about "So, why did he have to lie?" He felt the need to lie, if he did lie, but by all indications he's going to say, "I didn't remember quite the way this person remembered" and all the like. That's not very strong in my book and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday. But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.
Brit Hume: Juan, you need to, someone needs to hose you down on this issue. I mean, here's what happened: Joe Wilson, having made this trip to Niger, and came back with inconclusive findings. Indeed, findings that could well be read to support the idea that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium in Africa. Having done that he was around town saying that he'd proved the whole thing was false. Which was a lie. Suggesting, although he never said it, that the vice president's questions and the vice president's office was behind his mission. Which turned out not to be true. And saying a whole bunch of other things that were not true. What the administration was saying about him was, in fact, true. So the smear that you describe is a case where this guy was lying about them and they were telling the truth about him. That's not a smear.
Williams: What you're missing is the big point, there was no, in fact, no transfer. No sale from Niger to Iraq.
Hume: And the president never said there was.
Williams: The president said, in the State of the Union, the famous sixteen words, what the president was trying to say was...
Hume: No, say what he did say...
Williams: British intelligence, and others, had suggested that there was a possible contact between Saddam Hussein and an effort to procure, to gain weapons from Niger.
Hume: No, in an effort to acquire uranium...
Hume: And the intelligence on that that Wilson came back with tended to support that.
Williams: It doesn't matter what it tended to do.
Chris Wallace: Guys [While putting a hand on Williams' shoulder.]
Williams: Wait, let me finish this point. The key here, Brit, was it wasn't true.
Hume: It was true.
Williams: And it didn't substantiate the effort to go to war.
If you concentrate really hard, you'll be able to see through Williams obsfucation here. Williams is defending Wilson's lies because they're both anti-war. That's what it comes down to in the end. One mustn't expose someone else's lies if it would hurt the anti-war cause.
And that's what a lot of the media is doing. The (in)famous 16 words were true. Joe Wilson lied, repeatedly. But they refuse to report it.
CBS News' "60 Minutes" also got into it tonight with a report on all of the damage done by the "outing" of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. I suggest you jump down to the previous post for the Instapundit's analysis of the CIA and its decision to use an allegedly covert agent's spouse to conduct a politically charged "investigation." But this part of the "60 Minutes" report would've stopped any thinking reporter in their tracks.
The CIA has yet to conduct a formal damage assessment. The agency wanted to wait until the investigation by the special prosecutor was over.
It's been two years and her "outing" is so serious that the CIA is waiting until prosecutions are over before doing a damage assessment? You have got to be kidding me! I hate to say it, but it looks like the CIA of Jack Ryan and the Tom Clancy novels is a fantasyland. If that statement is true, then Porter Goss and everyone in the CIA whose job consists of more than cleaning the toilets should be fired.
If you keep reading past that part, you come to another couple of sentences that, while accurate, are incomplete and convey a false impression.
In February, 2002, he was sent by the CIA to investigate claims that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger, a country in Africa where he had once been posted. When he returned, he told the agency such a sale was “highly unlikely.”
But when the president said in his January 2003 State of the Union Address that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa, Wilson accused the administration of lying to make a better case for war. And that, he says, is why people in the administration came after his wife.
What this leaves out is the fact that Wilson told the CIA that while a sale was "highly unlikely" an Iraqi trade delegation had come to Niger and at least one Nigerian official that Wilson talked to perceived the Iraqi overtures as an effort to buy uranium.
Unfortunately, those inconvenient facts tend to sully Wilson's reputation and put a damper on his book sales, so the mainstream media tends to ignore it.
And journalists wonder why newspaper circulation is down and fewer people are tuning into the network evening newscasts? Journalism's wounds are self-inflicted.