The Associated Press, the world's largest news agency, has, since its formation in 1846, had the reputation of being a source for fair and balanced, just-the-facts reporting. Its mission statement reads: "AP's mission is to be the essential global news network, providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed."
This may have been true in years past, but like many of its contributing entities, it is a mere shell of its formerly unbiased self. As chronicled by many in the blogosphere, AP reporters and correspondents are often anything but disinterested journalists. The AP's latest op-ed piece masquerading as a news story shouts, "Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD."
The piece cites a recent Harris Poll that was more accurately titled, "Belief that Iraq Had Weapons of Mass Destruction Has Increased Substantially." Among other things, the poll claims that 50 percent of Americans believe that Iraq had WMDs, as opposed to last year when only 36 per cent answered affirmatively. How this translates into the AP using the word "still" in its headline is known only to it. A less ethically challenged blurb would have read, "More in U.S. Believe Iraq Had WMD," but the AP never lets ethics get in the way of a good Bush-bash.
However, the AP is not alone in its deceptions; textual or otherwise. Its fellow "objective" news agency Reuters, recently had to withdraw an obviously and odiously doctored photo of bombed buildings in Lebanon, which in turn has led to numerous bloggers investigating other possible examples of deliberate graphic distortions. Chalk up another victory for the pajamahadeen over our once-trusted media.
Yet, despite repeated instances of media lies, misrepresentations and even forgery, the AP's Charles J. Hanley has the chutzpah to opine that the reason half of America believes that Iraq had the WMDs is "a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq."
The seething condescension in the above statement is matched only by the breathtaking arrogance it took to publish it in a supposedly fact-based story. The bulk of the article quotes authors of books such as Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War, but dismisses as "uncorroborated hearsay" a book by Iraqi general, Georges Sada, which claims that Saddam shipped WMDs to Syria before the war.
It just might be that those Americans "rallying around a partisan flag" might be intelligent enough to wade through liberal, Bush-hating propaganda to agree that WMDs and other weapons were smuggled into Syria and elsewhere prior to the war.
Or even that some of these weapons are sustaining Hezbollah's attacks on Israel and terrorist activities elsewhere. Let's not forget that in 2004, Jordanian authorities foiled a plot which, according to one of the captured terrorists was an attempt at, "carrying out the first suicide attack to be launched by al Qaeda using chemicals."
Or perhaps some of these folks agree with Hillary Clinton who, on the floor of the Senate in October 2002, said:
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security. Now this much is undisputed.
Whatever the reason, the media in general and the Associated Press specifically seem disturbed that, despite their best efforts, more and more Americans are wending their way around them to the truth.