A headline in the Pakistan “Daily Times” reads “CNN ends up with `much egg on its face.” Yesterday, I mentioned that — after providing blanket coverage of the imminent capture of al-Qaida’s #2 man al-Zawahiri (which has not occurred and is unlikely to do so) — CNN abruptly dropped the story and barely mentioned it for hours. The background on what happened is an instructive glimpse into the media’s mindset and the influence it exerts. Aaron Brown — CNN’s lead anchor and host of NewsNight With Aaron Brown — was in Pakistan to cover US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s “anniversary” visit when the opportunity to interview President Pervez Musharraf arose. Musharraf told Brown about a military operation in South Waziristan, stating that the resistance being offered suggested militants might be defending a “high-value target.” He said it was “very likely” the possible target had been surrounded. Sensing they had a global exclusive — the biggest story since the capture of Saddam Hussein — CNN ran with it, sensationalizing both the form and substance. Suddenly, al-Zawarhiri by name was surrounded and about to be captured any moment, thus raising worldwide expectations and tensions. (Note the contrast between Thursday’s article from CNN and one today on the same matter.) As events unfolded and non-US media began to comment, it became clear that nothing about the battle was “imminent” and fierce conflict might rage for days or weeks. And, so, in live satellite broadcasts, Brown began to backpedal, lowering time expectations. It became unclear that al-Zawahiri was still among the besieged or ever had been there. And, so, top news executives at CNN exerted fast control. No retractions. Just bury the story as though it had not been reported. It was a blunder of Biblical proportions that made the world a little more nervous and news a lot more untrustworthy.
Things are getting better in Iraq, right? Riverbend, an Iraqi blogger in Baghdad, comments on this today, March 19th:
- It’s like Iraq is suffering from intellectual hemorrhaging. Professors and scientists are being assassinated right and left- decent intelligent people who are necessary for the future of Iraq. Other scientists are being detained by the Americans and questioned about- of all things- Al-Qaeda. It seems like everyone you talk to is keeping their eyes open for a job opportunity outside of the country. Whatever the reason, the brains are slowly seeping out of Iraq. It’s no longer a place for learning or studying or working… it’s a place for wealthy contractors looking to get wealthier, extremists, thieves (of all ranks and origins) and troops… read more
Bush celebrated the 1 year anniversary of his
vendetta invasion of Iraq by giving a speech in which WMD was mentioned once. Here it is:
Our coalition is also confronting the dangerous combination of outlaw states, terrorist groups and weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistan: Not applicable, good buddies
- It has become almost a doctrine with us that patriotism requires that we should hold our tongues while our interests, our institutions, our most sacred traditions, and our best established maxims have been trampled underfoot. There is no doubt that moral courage is the virtue which is more needed than any other in the modern democratic state, and that truckling to popularity is the worst political vice.
Keep those filthy big-spending liberals from giving WMDs to the kids and STDs to the Islamofascists. Or something like that. Make checks payable to the Boy Bombardier.