Bush's Iraq War "Deception" - October 10, 2003

Times Watch for October 10, 2003

Bush's Iraq War "Deception"

Alessandra Stanley reviews an Iraq war documentary, "Truth, War and Consequences," from the PBS series "Frontline" for her Thursday piece, "Selective Intelligence on Road to Baghdad." Her favorable review of the documentary repeats liberal disinformation on the run-up to the Iraq war: "But White House deception is the real focus of the program, which draws two main conclusions, both linked to hubris: that the administration twisted the facts to paint Mr. Hussein as an imminent threat to the security of the United States, and that it ignored its own experts' warnings about the risks and cost of postwar reconstruction."

As previously noted, Bush never made such a threat. In his last State of the Union address Bush clearly indicated the threat wasn't imminent: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"

For the rest of Alessandra Stanley's review, click here.

George W. Bush | Frontline | Iraq War | Alessandra Stanley | Television

"Authoritarian" Tories vs. "Tolerance"

Give reporter Warren Hoge points for consistency. After filing several biased stories from the Labor Party conference, Hoge files one from the Conservative Party conference for Thursday's paper, introduced by this unusually opinionated headline: "Unhappy Times for the Tories and Their Lackluster Leader."

Hoge again takes on the Labor party from the left, raising the discredited charge of Blair's alleged distortion of military intelligence: "The unpopular war in Iraq, the failure to find the banned weapons there that Mr. Blair said justified military action and the suspicions that his government distorted intelligence to exaggerate the threat to Britain, all these developments have forced Mr. Blair to watch his popularity and his credibility sink." Once more, Hoge fails to mention Blairs government was cleared by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee on the charge of manipulating intelligence.

Then Hoge focuses on intolerant, "authoritarian" Tories: "Beyond its leadership battle, the party confronts longer range problems. It is deeply split between a traditional law and order wing known in political shorthand as authoritarians and a group with a more tolerant attitude known as modernizers who preach 'compassionate conservatism.'"

For the rest of Hoge's story from the Conservative Party conference, click here.

Tony Blair | Britain | Warren Hoge | Iraq War

"Shrill, Privileged" Doctors vs. "Advocate" Ralph Nader

In Sunday's "The Doctors Are Crying All the Way to the Bank," Trenton bureau chief David Kocieniewski squeezes in several liberal characterizations in a New Jersey section column (not online) on state doctors protesting high medical malpractice insurance premiums.

First up, class war: "The sputtering economy and New Jersey's back-to-back budget deficits have inflicted plenty of serious financial pain in the past two years.With all those people contending with all those calamitous problems, it is bewildering that the shrillest complaints about economic hardship have come from one of the most privileged quarters of society-New Jersey's doctors."

Then he likens the backlash to "a temper tantrum" (just as the Times editorial page characterized the California recall as a "fit of pique"). Kocieniewski, predictably, also denigrates the recall: "A few doctors have discussed organizing an effort to recall Governor McGreevey, as if the remedy for their problem is to put the state through the expense and political ordeal that has made California a political farce ('Calling Dr. Schwarzenegger ')."

After a strange Dr. Strangelove reference, there's a citing of insurance premium statistics from Public Citizen, which Kocieniewski benignly calls "an advocacy group" but is funded by liberal crusader Ralph Nader.

Doctors | Health Care | David Kocieniewski | Labeling Bias | New Jersey | Recall

A Meaty Times Debate

"New Safety Rules Fail to Stop Tainted Meat," announces Friday's front-page story from Melody Petersen and Christopher Drew, which notes in the second paragraph: "Last November the inspectors also found E. coli O157:H7, a dangerous bacterium spread by cattle waste, in hamburger and stopped a shipment waiting to go to public schools from a Shapiro meat-grinding facility. Yet the Department of Agriculture delayed more forceful action and never did more than threaten to shut the packing plant down." It concludes with this bite from a liberal Naderite spinoff group (naturally not labeled by the Times as such): "Caroline Smith-DeWaal, the food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said consumers should check with their grocery stores and their children's schools 'to ensure that they have strict standards for testing for harmful pathogens.'"

The Times thinks E. coli is a big deal in schools. Perhaps someone should tell the Times food reporter, Marion Burros. In her Wednesday story, "Schools Seem in No Hurry to Buy Irradiated Beef," she gives credence to knee-jerk left-wing antipathy to all things nuclear, portraying the irradiation of beef (which kills E. coli) as a greater concern than E. coli itself: "Most school officials interviewed said either that contamination was not enough of a problem for them to consider irradiation or that they needed to know a lot more about irradiated beef before using it."

Burros also passes on baseless environmentalist arguments suggesting irradiation "promotes cancer." She writes: "The government has said that irradiation is a responsible way to prevent contamination by E. coli 0157:H7, listeria and other dangerous bacteria. But critics have said that not enough studies have been done to prove irradiated beef's safety; that in fact some studies have shown that it may promote cancer and that it should not be given to children until the concerns are met."

For more on meat, click here.

Marion Burros | Christopher Drew | Environment | Health | Meat | Melody Peterson | Regulation

Jay Leno, Partisan Republican

When is it controversial for a TV personality to show political favoritism? When the politician involved is a Republican.

Bill Carter's Friday story, "NBC Supports the Politically Partisan Leno," opens: "Rejecting criticism about the propriety of allowing Jay Leno to introduce Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory speech in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, NBC executives said yesterday that the network fully supported the talk-show host.Mr. Leno, host of NBC's top-rated 'Tonight' show, broke the longstanding but unspoken prohibition among late-night hosts against displaying political partisanship by participating in the Republican Party celebration after Mr. Schwarzenegger's victory in California's recall election."

Carter quotes disapproving Syracuse University professor Robert Thompson, who harrumphs: "NBC is taking a big risk. There's a big culture war raging in this country." (The Times has used Thompson to back up liberal premises before. Back in December, reporter John Leland quoted Thompson in an article on conservative domination of talk radio: "Where radio conservatives have thrived by drawing hard distinctions between right and wrong, [Thompson] said, 'the liberal tradition as we understand it acknowledges a diversity of people and values.'")

Liberal hand-wringing aside, here's a full transcript of Leno's "political partisanship" from the Schwarzenegger victory rally: "Tonight is a testament on how important one appearance on 'The Tonight Show' can be. You know the critics say 'Well, Arnold can't be an administrator, he's an actor. Oh, Arnold can't be an environmentalist, he's an actor. Oh Arnold can't be governor, he's an actor.' Well of course Arnold was thrilled. For the first time in his career, the critics are calling him an actor, ladies and gentlemen. This is a historic night. Apparently we have all been wrong. It is pronounced Cal-ee-fornia. Ladies and gentleman, the governor of the great state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Not exactly hardball politics.

For more of Bill Carter on Jay Leno's support for Schwarzenegger, click here.

Bill Carter | Jay Leno | NBC | Recall | Arnold Schwarzenegger