As we continue to "celebrate" the 10th anniversary of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq, there seems to a debate where there really shouldn't be one: Did the media really get it wrong during the run-up to the war? It seems like if the media had dome its job better, we might not even be talking about that Iraq War. The question is not "If"...but "why."
The Washington Post, in seeking to conduct a post-mortum, asked a very wise source on that front: My cyber friend Greg Mitchell of The Nation, who penned the definitive book on the Iraq War and press blunders, "So Wrong For So Long," to write an op-ed on the topic. But this weekend, the editors at the Post spiked Mitchell's piece, but did print an article by one of its own staffers, Paul Fahri, defending the media's performance.
Luckily, thanks ot the invention of the World Wide Web, you can read Mitchell's piece, the one that the editors of the Post didn't want you to read. Here's an excerpt:
THE MINI-CULPA This phrase was coined by Jack Shafer of Slate after The New York Times published an "editors' note" in May 2004, admitting it had publishing a few "problematic articles" (it didn't mention any authors) on Iraqi WMDs, but pointing out it was "taken in" like most in the Bush administration. Unlike the Times, Washington Post editors three months later did not produce their own explanation but allowed chief media reporter Howard Kurtz to write a lengthy critique. Editors and reporters admitted they had often performed poorly but offered one excuse after another, with phrases such as "always easy in hindsight," "editing difficulties," "communication problems" and "there is limited space on Page 1." One top reporter said, "We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power. "