Saturday, November 05, 2005
The problem with journalism: Well, there's more than one, but today we're going to look at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The P-I as it's known in Washington State, recently ran an article where it uncritically repeated Joseph Wilson's lie that he "found nothing" on his visit to Niger.
When challenged on their failure to report on Wilson critically, the P-I decided to first deny, then deride.
The result, besides unhealthy insularity, is that news organizations miss nuances that can indeed spell bias and miss ambiguities and errors that really ought to be corrected, regardless of who brings them to your attention.
I don't think that's the case in the determination by Matassa and other editors that our report on Wilson's appearance here does not need correcting. Conservative bloggers continue to assert that in his fact-finding trip to Niger in February 2002, Wilson found evidence to support the contention that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium there. But Wilson, the person best positioned to say what he found and what he reported, is adamant.
"That's absolutely not true," he told me in a telephone conversation.
Wilson said his trip to Niger turned up nothing to substantiate British intelligence reports that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium there, just as we reported. Nonetheless, conservative bloggers say he is lying and that our report was wrong, presumably because we didn't say so.
This is like the claims of the author of some JFK assassination conspiracy book being uncritically reported as fact without even the prefunctory reference to the Warren Commission report.
The P-I has a serious journalistic problem and it's not just this. The paper's aggressive disinterest in the state's corrupt Democrat machine.