Wednesday, September 10, 2003

WMD Redux

Greg Mitchell reviews how the press played up Iraq's WMD program before the war. He thinks it is "a depressing case study of journalistic shirking of responsibility. The press essentially acted like a jury that is ready, willing and (in this case) able to deliver a verdict -- after the prosecution has spoken and before anyone else is heard or the evidence studied. A hanging jury, at that. "

Mitchell points to Colin Powell's now discredited performance before the UN as a sort of turning point in war coverage. The media now has a chance to make partial amends by probing the Iraq Survey Group's forthcoming report, but he is worried that past patterns of coverage will again portray empty assertions as "compelling proof."