Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Media Bias: Wheeling out Joe Wilson to Attack Karl Rove

Just how far is the mainstream media willing to go to attack Karl Rove for supposedly leaking to the press the fact that the wife of Joe Wilson (an Administration critic) was a CIA employee?

Hard to answer, but one thing they are willing to do is wheel out the thoroughly discredited Wilson to attack Rove and the Bush Administration.

A good summary of the lies and exaggerations in which Wilson engaged can be found in “A Little Literary Flair” in the The Weekly Standard, 07/26/2004.

Some may in inclined to dismiss The Weekly Standard because of its conservative viewpoint, but can those people ignore The Washington Post? An editorial in the latter summarized Wilson’s credibility problems as follows:
Mr. Wilson made his trip in 2002 to look into reports that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger. A year later, he publicly surfaced and loudly proclaimed that the Bush administration should have known that its conclusion that Iraq had sought such supplies, included in the president’s 2003 State of the Union address, was wrong. He said he had debunked that theory and that his report had circulated at the highest levels of government.

One year after that, reports by two official investigations — Britain’s Butler Commission and the Senate intelligence committee — demonstrated that Mr. Wilson’s portrayal of himself as a whistle-blower was unwarranted. It turned out his report to the CIA had not altered, and may even have strengthened, the agency’s conclusion that Iraq had explored uranium purchases from Niger. Moreover, his account had not reached Vice President Cheney or any other senior official. According to the Butler Commission, led by an independent jurist, the assertion about African uranium included in Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech was “well-founded.”
Just what does one make of the media willingness to use a thoroughly discredited source like Wilson? Is their partisan bias so strong that they don’t care about the credibility of a source who will conveniently say nasty things about the Bush Administration? Are they simply so ill-informed that they don’t know Wilson’s credibility was trashed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence? Are they so deadline driven and present oriented that they never bother to check — weeks or months later — whether the source they were touting actually survived the scrutiny of bipartisan investigators?

Partisan bias is, if not the whole story, then certainly a necessary part of the process. Once cannot imagine them being so cavalier about the credibility of someone from the right who was attacking the left.

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