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New York Times in Quagmire

The New York Times has been predicting quagmires every time the U.S. has deployed forces for about 2 decades now... Well, they finally found one. The problem is, there're the ones in it.

Now the Times' own ombudsman has some harsh words for the Times over their Iraq coverage. No, not over the horrifically bad reporting, but for the stories that said Saddam had WMD.

NY Times Ombudsman Criticizes Paper Over Iraq

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Institutional failures at The New York Times led to it being used in a "cunning campaign" by those who wanted the world to believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the paper's ombudsman said on Sunday.

Daniel Okrent, who has the title "public editor," wrote in a scathing review of the paper's coverage of the weapons issue ahead of the Iraq invasion last year that The Times had been guilty of flawed journalism.

The folks at the New York Times have been stricken by selective amnesia. Whether Saddam had WMD was never up for debate. He not only had them but he used them to kill tens of thousands of his own people. (Why does that need to be repeated at this point?)

Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction was well documented by the United Nations. Assuming the tooth fairy did not come and take them, something happened to them. At this stage we don't know what was done with them. Saddam himself told various stories of their status from claiming they were all destroyed to claiming he had them pointed at Israel.

Much has been made over the fact we have not found them. It is equally fair to say we have found no evidence Saddam destroyed them. So while the present status up the weapons is unknown to the Western world, the fact they existed is not debatable.

Sadly, the New York Times is mired in a quagmire of its own bias. Readership is falling at a rate only surpassed by that of its prestige. They are wholly unwilling to admit true failures in their Iraq coverage but are more than willing to use the paper as a partisan broadsheet.

In a media age with an abundance of news sources, they are making themselves increasingly irrelevant. Any pretext of fact finding or true journalism has long since passed. A once great paper is now as credible as the Village Voice and -the crossword puzzle not withstanding- much less interesting.

It is ironic indeed that their new ombudsman, who ostensibly should steer the paper away from such troubles, is now leading them down the path to their own irrelevance.


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Comments (4)

Oh, they're still relevant-... (Below threshold)

Oh, they're still relevant--just not very good.

And what ever happened with... (Below threshold)

And what ever happened with the reports of the mustard gas that was thought to have been found? The early news reports said they were waiting further testing, and then I never saw anything after that.

According to that article, ... (Below threshold)

According to that article, "No chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons were found in Iraq after the invasion." Fair? Balanced? Hardly.

I live outside a very small... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

I live outside a very small town. A novice editor recently took the helm of the local paper. He had no understanding of the influence of this little paper, and as a result horribly botched an important local election. I tell this to illustrate that the tendency of journalists is to either woefully underestimate the power they exert over public opinion, or in the case of the NY Times, become obsessed with that power.

The word is RESPONSIBILITY. There is an inherent requirement that those who disseminate information to the masses give much thought to the effects of their report. Sadly, "responsible journalism" has been pushed aside in the name of entertainment and ratings. There is so very little time devoted to news (instead, we're informed about Hollywood news, sports, or sappy stories about various victims of misfortune) that we suffer from a very easily swayed, pitifully ignorant electorate. Until this trend reverses, look for much more of the same.




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