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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:38 AM

Some reporters did a great job on Iraq WMD. The media, however...

It is, apparently, not sufficient for information to be available. It has to be media-vetted as ***TRUE THING THAT YOU MUST BELIEVE***

Presenting "both sides" to a story is simply giving people carte blanche to believe whichever "side" they had already decided to believe anyway, or believe the spokesman with the squarest jaw, or nicest suit, or most midwestern accent.

Here we are ten years later, and the TV documentary Hubris didn't say anything that we didn't know before the 2004 election, and 90% was stuff we knew before the invasion. There were a few wee bits of further confirmation of things we already knew, but nothing really new.

It is something to be slightly proud of that if you read all the way down in the articles they usually included solid information on why nobody in their right mind would believe the claims made in the first half of the article.

It would, however, had been even better if the information was put ahead of the claims... like in the fucking headline. Like, "White House makes fraudulent claim about aluminum tubes," or, "State of Union Address full of Lies," or perhaps, "Powell makes series of false claims to UN."

A few reporters did good work... but their bosses? Not so much. (Now, if you read McClatchy papers you knew it was all fake, but AP and CNN and the NYT have a bigger megaphone that McClatchy syndicated stories.)

I want to remind everyone of something, lest it go down the memory hole...

Remember Powell's UN presentation, when he was showing the satellite photos of Iraqi's taking all the WMD out the back door when they heard the UN inspectors were on their way? He kept showing two pictures, saying here is the stuff being taken out the back door, and here are the inspectors pulling up in their cars in the front.

The two photos were plainly time-stamped, and were days or weeks or months apart. You could see it right on the TV.

The lies were not meant to deceive any serious person. They were meant to be an alternative to the truth... static to create the impression of a two-sided argument of the sort that people tend to resolve with assessments of personal credibility, not critical assessment of argument and evidence.

You could read the time stamps on the photos, or you could believe what you wanted to believe.

I knew someone who said the reason the evidence was so weak was that the Bush administration was onto something in Iraq so big, so starling, so dastardly that they couldn't risk disclosing it by offering evidence for it.

When the weakness of the evidence is an argument for the evidence we are talking about what people want to believe.

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