The "We All Knew This" Defense
As a follow-up to Marie's great piece below, I’ve become as jaded as anyone at how the media has ditched their integrity with this administration, as compared to their “turn the dogs loose” mentality the previous eight years. I, like many others, wonder why it is an affront to the chattering classes inside the Beltway and a matter worthy of vulture-like attack that a president stupidly had sexual relations with an intern on his staff, yet the confirmation that Bush surreptitiously led us to an irreversible war only warrants a “we knew this already” from the same Beltway types, even though there is a dearth of media stories to this effect from 2002 and early 2003.
Yet even I am amazed at the ass-covering double standard that is going on at the Washington Post and New York Times in their efforts to trivialize the Downing Street memos. Both papers only began covering the release of the memos well after the Sunday Times of London first broke the story, and after other papers noticed the memos. With yesterday’s hearing by House Democrats on the memos, the gall of the Washington Post’s efforts generally and Dana Milbank specifically to trivialize the memos with more of the same “there’s nothing new here; move on” attitude reaches new heights. Note what Milbank said in his piece today and the smack down from Representative John Conyers.
Again, for the Post and the Times to credibly take the attitude that there is nothing new here, shouldn’t there be evidence that these same paragons of the media ran a rash of stories telling us in 2002 and early 2003 that Bush’s UN efforts and his public comments were all lies and that he was going to invade no matter what? Funny, I don’t remember those stories.
What I do remember however is that:
·The Post’s own editors buried any story that called into question the administration’s justification for the war;
·Judith Miller performed a journalistic Lewinsky with Ahmed Chalabi and the Pentagon to help sell the war. Yet the Times waited until July 16, 2004 to admit they may have been wrong about the war, but they never mentioned Miller’s cheerleading for it.
And Milbank’s pathetic effort to minimize an inquiry by the opposition yesterday, without giving the back-story behind what Sensenbrenner did to prevent it, and with no sense of shame for dismissing the loss of over 1700 lives in this travesty is something that makes you question the Post’s reaction if Watergate happened today. Quite simply, both the Post and the Times are downplaying a story that directly shows how culpable both of their editorial boards were in a grand deception.
You can tell Milbank what you think of his knee padding for White House here.