May 30, 2008

Where the Truth Was

Back from Jordan and Syria on Monday night, finding it harder to get rid of the jet-lag this time, and madly trying to catch up on emails and the news. Details of the trip will follow in new posts as I begin to come to terms with the mass of information and impressions and put together some sensible presentations and pieces.

This week I have been lightly following the media brouhaha about Scott McClellan's book, which appears to be a bit of a weaseling indictment. McClellan apparently tries to tell how the members of the Bush administration--and the president himself--carried on a propaganda campaign and broke the law, while still insisting that he is loyal to Bush and that Bush is a good man. I don't think you can have it both ways.

Occasionally I get into arguments with some of my friends who are disillusioned about the war in Iraq. They usually end up asking me how it was that I argued against the war at the start. They find it hard to remember that the information was out there all along that questioned the Bush Administration's propaganda campaign.

For those of you who want a quick reference about the lies that were made in the run up to the Iraq war, you can't do better than this commentary from McClatchy's great reporters, Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay. At the time they were working for Knight-Ridder, which was bought by McClatchy.

They begin by commenting on Scott McClellan's new book, then launch into a point by point reminder of what was out there in print, for all to read. Much of the anti-war community understood this and used the reporting of Landay and Strobel to counter the shill and the hype of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon and their ilk. (Gordon still gets his stories spoon fed by the Pentagon). The commentary is here and also contains some links to important stories on the run-up to the war, including Bill Moyers' important documentary on the peddling of the war.

The McClatchy papers are the most consistently honest about foreign policy. They do real journalism, and have established themselves as the starting point.

If you get in the habit of reading them first, then watching the news, you will have an experience of good reporting separating itself from the bad.

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