The Media: Bad Intelligence with No Confidence

To the MSM, any anti-American angle is a good one  

NewsBusters.org - Media Research Center
A Brave Nuclear World

The media's reaction to the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapon program has been as grandiose as it is selective, inaccurate and wrong-headed.

The single excerpt they chose to trumpet, that the report proffers with "high confidence" that Iran halted weapons development in 2003, maximized their ability to bash President George W. Bush for being wrong all along about one third of his Axis of Evil.

The MSM has characterized as "war mongering" and "the politics of fear" Bush's consistent and prudent imputations to keep our eye on -- amongst other things -- the spinning Persian ball.  They allege the Administration wielded these Terror implements to rush us into battle in Iran and to ensure electoral wins here at home.

As we have far too often seen, the media are never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good beating.

The media dangerously ignore the rest of the report, which indicates that Iran remains in the process of doing everything required to develop every aspect of their nuclear program save weapons, to which they can return on a dime whenever they wish.

Like, say, immediately after the MSM ridicule the President for his sensible attentions to this menace, and run stories sure to lead to additional international laxness like "NIE Report May Block Military Force Against Iran". 

Bush refuses to take prospective military action off the table, so the press does it for him.

The MSM also disregard the July 2007 testimony before the House Armed Services Committee of Thomas Fingar, one of the co-authors of the latest NIE, which was wholly contradictory of his new downgraded danger assessment.

"Iran is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations and working to delay and diminish the impact of UNSC sanctions than in reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution.

"We assess that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons--despite its international obligations and international pressure. This is a grave concern to the other countries in the region whose security would be threatened should Iran acquire nuclear weapons."

The media do not seek out Fingar for an explanation of his inconsistent words, they instead hound Bush for his clarity and constancy, ready to believe any and everyone before they do him. 

They have in fact been forever ready to take the word of any tin-horn dictator with a funny hat (or a Members Only beige windbreaker) from anywhere on the planet over that of a domestic Republican, whether it was trusting Communists over Ronald Reagan in the 1980s or uber-theistic thugs over this President today.

And of course, for the MSM the United States always begins any international engagement on the moral low ground and with an ethical deficit.

This is all extraordinarily perilous.  The world is not a sandbox in which all the little children play nicely, save for the American bully.  The naïve notion the media broadcast that we could all just get along were it not for us throwing our weight around is a stone around our necks that hinders our ascendance both here and abroad.

As exhibited last week, when their righteous preening led to Bush-as-Pinocchio headlines in Tehran and smiles all around from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad and his Mullah bosses. 

Meanwhile, it undercuts further our national stature in time of war, and the centrifuges continue spinning. 

That the media put so much stock in any aspect of this latest NIE effort is also ludicrously inconsistent.  They have spent the last four years ridiculing Bush for having leaned on this very same product as justification for going to war in Iraq.

Countless times we have heard them bemoan the bad intelligence that assured us of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Mesopotamia.  They have since denounced Bush as cretinous for having gotten something so vital so wrong.

Yet here comes the same sixteen agency NIE conglomeration that said with certitude that Saddam was packing, this time evaluating Iran, and as of November 2007 they are christened media geniuses. 

Never mind that in the June 2005 NIE they said that Tehran was full steam ahead on nuclear weapons production.  Or that just four months ago Fingar was rehashing the June '05 perspective before Congress. 

Or that the three authors of the latest effort, Fingar, Vann Van Diepen and Kenneth Brill, refuse to disavow the 2005 report and have reputations as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials".  All that matters is that they have afforded the MSM another opportunity to berate President Bush and, by extension, the United States.    

As we have far too often seen, the media are never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good beating.

Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Founder and president of Less Government.