Media Argue Over Whether NIE Revelation on Iran is ‘Embarrassment’ or Worse

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterIn the wake of the new National Intelligence Report which found that Iran apparently halted its nuclear weapons program, some in the media rallied around a single word to describe the revelation - "embarrassment"

‘Face the Nation’ anchor Bob Schieffer, in a conversation with anchor Russ Mitchell following President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, thought the finding rose to a level higher than embarrassment.

RUSS MITCHELL: Bob Schieffer is our chief Washington correspondent and anchor of 'Face the Nation.' And Bob, the President said he was having a good time up there, but to this observer and to others in the room, he did not look like having a good time. Despite his resolve, what are you hearing? Is this an embarrassment for the administration?

BOB SCHIEFFER: I think it's more than an embarrassment, Russ. I think it's very disturbing, because, listen to what the President just said on the record. He said more than three years ago, Iran had shut down its nuclear weapons program. We did not, apparently, realize that something was changing until this summer, and we were not certain of it, and the President was not told of it, until last week. This raises questions about the credibility of all these reports. We also do not know what caused the intelligence community to change its mind on this. Was it a defector? There must have been something major that caused this reversal, and until we know that, I think it's very difficult to make a judgment on this report and all the other intelligence reports.

Several hour later on CNN’s "The Situation Room," the same 'E' word turned up during a conversation between Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty. The conversation took place during the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program, after a report by CNN senior political correspondent Bill Schneider on the possible domestic political fallout from the revelation, and just prior to Cafferty’s "The Cafferty File" segment.

WOLF BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty. He's got 'The Cafferty File,' joining us from New York. I know in our 6 pm hour, we're going to talk in our round table about this, Jack, but it's pretty embarrassing, when you think about it.

JACK CAFFERTY: I was going to say. We have got to look like the gang who couldn't shoot straight to the rest of the world. We got a President pounding the desk, saying Iran is going to start World War III. Then we have our own intelligence people saying, 'Hey, they gave that program up four years ago.' I mean, it's embarrassing. That's the right word. And it's shameful. I mean, we ought to be better than that.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center