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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Sole reliance on government or military sources of information makes for poor journalism and an even worse basis for life and death decision-making. Yet this is largely what happened in the run up to the Iraq War.

Most independent thinkers were at least skeptical, if not doubtful, when the Bush Administration claimed that Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq threatened America. This skepticism didn’t extend to the mainstream media, which dutifully repeated claims without doubts being expressed. There was a desire to avoid confrontation with the government at a time when bullying and jingoistic cheerleading was the norm after September 11.

Taking advantage of the public’s fears may be the job of the politicos running the Bush Administration, but the job of the press is to question the supposed “facts” touted by government flacks.

It’s nice that the New York Times and other news sources are now recanting their stories about WMD and the “Iraqi threat,” It would be better if the press now put the government’s feet to the fire in the present tense going forward.

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