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More on Media Blackout on WMDs in Iraq June 22, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.

I can't count the number of times I've heard on the news that the American people were misled into the Iraq war by faulty intelligence that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. On 6/21, Senator Santorum and Representative Hoeskstra revealed the existence of WMD in Iraq:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) announced Wednesday the discovery of more than 500 munitions or weapons of mass destruction, specifically "sarin- and mustard-filled projectiles," in Iraq.

Reading from unclassified portions of a document developed by the U.S. intelligence community, Santorum said, "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

According to Santorum, "That means in addition to the 500, there are filled and unfilled munitions still believed to exist within the country."

Will such strong proof change the way the press is covering the war in Iraq? Judging from the lack of mainstream press coverage of Santorum and Hoeskstra's WMD discovery, I'm not going to hold my breathe while I wait for the "Bush lied, people died" crowd to admit they were wrong. Neither is Hugh Hewitt:

Because Senator Santorum is in a re-election battle, the immediate reaction of the Beltway press corps was to dismiss this announcement as little more than a campaign stunt, a reaction that ignores Hoekstra's involvement as well as his and Santorum's long push for more transparency regarding Iraq from the intelligence community.

Some usual suspects –anonymous of course– were called by Washington Post and other reporters, and the announcement filed under the "doesn't matter" category, where it will remain unless the Administration wants more information to surface.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and many other newspapers chose not to report the WMD find in their 6/22 edition. Today I found an article on WMD on FOX News and the Washington Times but not on CNN or the New York Times. Instead the New York Times ran an article- "G.O.P Decides to Embrace War as Issue."

Hotair.com reported on the media blackout:

To be sure, the MSM at least gives the appearance that it is taking no chances that this story will change anyone’s mind on the war or on the President. One would think that a Senator reading from a declassified report on the Senate floor that our forces found 500 artillery shells containing deadly chemicals might be considered in some quarters to be news. The New York Times doesn’t even mention it. And even more curiously, the Washington Post buried the story by their national security correspondent Dafna Linzer on Page 10 (I wonder when the last time Linzer had his byline buried that deep in the paper?).

Often people assume media bias is just about how a story is written. This is one form of bias, but it is also the least subtle. Bias in a printed article inspires angry readers to write letters to the editor. But bias revealed by not reporting (or by burying deep in the paper) news unfavorable to a paper's political slant is a more common form of bias since it can be exercised with impunity. Just think about it: how often have you read a letter to the editor complaining about a story that wasn't printed?



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