On Friday, the Washington Post splashed across its front page the findings of a Pentagon inspector general’s report on White House tampering with intelligence in support of an invasion of Iraq. “Dubious' Intelligence Fueled Push for War” read the subhead.
Well, that's hardly news is it? I mean, we all KNOW the Administration manipulated evidence that put Saddam Hussein’s peaceful, non-sectarian, and notably stable regime in the worst possible light.
Now the patriots of defeat have been vindicated again, according to the Post.
“Intelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community, according to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general.
Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," according to portions of the report, released yesterday by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). The inspector general described Feith's activities as “an alternative intelligence assessment process.’”
But the next day, hidden inside the helped wanted section of the Weekend Post, there ran a the Mother of All Corrections to the front page, above-the-fold blockbuster story.
It turns out that all those damning quotes and findings were not from the Pentagon report but from a partisan attack "report" that Sen. Levin’s staffers released two years ago.
The two reports "used similar language" says the Post innocently. In fact, both reports do use verbs, adjectives and a similar noun-subject structure that must have misled the dogged seekers of truth at the Post.
Yes, the language of the two reports is indeed hauntingly similar (it's English), but the conclusions are diametrically opposed.
Friday’s Pentagon IG report actually exonerated Doug Feith and found no manipulation whatsoever. But that would contradict the anti-war storyline and we can’t have that. Basically, the "reporters" got the tricky spelling of Feith's name correct but everything else in the story was wrong.
Isn’t it odd that the Post reporters appear able to quote from memory the two-year old staff report from one of the most outspoken defeatists in the Senate yet can’t be bothered to read the newly published material that contradicts their solidly ossified preconceptions.
Bias in the media? Sure, but at least it’s completely unconscious.