Media Matters

In Deep Qaqaa

The New York Times and CBS step in it in a last minute smear.

By 10.27.04

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The Corrections section in the New York Times on Tuesday contained some weighty admissions of error. One correction was that the Times had spelled the first name of Barbara Genther "Barbra." Another correction was that a weather report "listed incorrect times in the section headed 'Sun, Moon and Planets.' The correct times were one hour later than those shown." As Times ombudsmen tended to these consequential corrections, the paper's editorial writers used its now-discredited Monday story on missing explosives in Iraq to slander George Bush's military as incompetents who couldn't guard 380 tons of explosives.

No, Jayson Blair hasn't been rehired. The Times wouldn't need to rehire him. Far more ambitious liars are still on staff, practicing a form of dishonesty only liberals who regard themselves as very proper could justify. It is a high-brow dishonesty, a lying punctiliousness that allows the Bill Kellers to feel good about themselves for correcting names and weather times while simultaneously slandering the good name of the U.S. military with a false story that NBC employees could debunk off the top of their heads less than a day after its publication.

The New York Times, it is often said, not only reports the news but makes the news. This is true literally. It makes the news up. To nail Bush, Bill Keller and company were willing to manufacture a story where there wasn't one. Then with grotesque unfairness they gave an appearance of reality to their fiction by demanding that Bush respond to it. In a classic of their well-honed technique, the Times treated their fake story as a real campaign issue, titling a piece yesterday, "Iraq Explosives Become Issue In Campaign." The editors of the Times are like malicious mechanics who cause a car crash, then approach the scene like innocents wondering what happened.

"Fake New York Times Story Becomes Kerry Smear Tool In Campaign," is the real headline. Al Qaqaa is a good nickname for the dominant media as the Democratic donkeys in their newsrooms produce endless piles of manure. "Crooked Liberal Media Becomes Issue In Campaign," is the story the electorate deserves to hear.

The byline on the bogus Times story, "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site In Iraq," lists 7 reporters working on it and "cooperation with the CBS News program '60 Minutes.'" (Steve Kroft can't blame this one on the second-stringers at 60 Minutes II.) Not one of these journalists knew that NBC had traveled with the military to Al Qaqaa and could disprove their story easily? This is as pathetic and shoddy as Dan Rather receiving forgeries from Kinko's. Evidently Bush hatred has left journalists at the Times and CBS so addled they can't even produce plausible propaganda that holds up for a day.

Watch as the Times and CBS, à la Dan Rather (who is so hapless he couldn't resist this fake story either), use the "fake but accurate" defense to change the subject. They will shift attention from the falseness of their claim that U.S. troops failed to guard 380 tons of explosives to what they regard as the "core truth" that explosives have gone missing since the U.S. invaded the country. Recall that the media and Democrats leveled wild charges against the military for letting "looters" steal the cultural patrimony of Iraq. That was a cheap attack on soldiers doing the best they could under difficult circumstances -- but precious PBS liberals who previously hadn't cared a whit about Saddam Hussein looting the country's cultural patrimony saw it as a convenient story with which to smear the U.S. war effort.

The liberal media -- which have never acknowledged the existence of nuclear components in pre-war Iraq before and have been pooh-poohing the idea that Saddam possessed any dangerous materials to share with terrorists -- only now make these concessions. And why? In order to buttress a bogus story accusing American soldiers of not securing them. The media had previously said terrorists weren't in Iraq under Saddam. Now they say by April 2003 terrorists were stealing weaponry in Iraq. The attacks on the U.S. war effort are so convoluted that they end up proving the necessity for it.

In their missing-explosives hyping, the Times and CBS make Iraq into the dangerous place that they had been previously saying it wasn't. When David Kay said that Iraq was more dangerous than even Bush assumed, CBS and the Times didn't listen to him. But now that the nuclear-triggers-were-just-lying-around storyline fits their purpose they paint Iraq as a powder keg.

Iraq is a like a dying patient that the U.S. military revived. New York Times liberals didn't want the patient revived, but they will blame all of the patient's subsequent hobbling on the doctor who saved him. Just as Kerry in one of the debates spoke of the soldiers protecting the Oil ministry like soldiers in Vietnam razing a village, so he is willing to smear the soldiers in Iraq for not guarding ammo dumps emptied before they arrived. The good name of the U.S. military is treated with less respect than the botched names Bill Keller so fastidiously corrects.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.