Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe mocked former Vice President Dick Cheney for his recent criticism of President Obama, and inaccurately claimed that "there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq" before Cheney "led the decision to invade Iraq."
After dismissing Cheney as being in his "last throes," Wolffe recalled: "Let's just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the decision to invade Iraq, and led the disastrous occupation of Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq."
I've not been much of a fan of Time magazine for years, though I am again, if only briefly.
Fresh off Rachel Maddow's ludicrous claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was "not all that well known" until he was killed by the US military in 2006 and allegedly elevated in death beyond what he was in life, Time magazine published a special issue titled "The End of bin Laden."
The cover of the magazine, which can be seen here, shows an illustration of bin Laden crossed out with a prominent red "X" -- as in, buh bye.
Turns out this is only the fourth time in Time's history that the magazine has gone with the "X" cover. Prior to bin Laden's rude awakening by Navy SEALs, Time did this for only three other globally reviled figures: Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein -- and Zarqawi. (video after page break)
I have to wonder if someone spiked that White House-brewed Kool Aid for MSNBC with hallucinogens.
Either that or the network's apologists suffer from pathological dishonesty.
How else to explain one of the most blatantly deceitful claims on MSNBC in memory, when Rachel Maddow on Wednesday dutifully cited the reasons why she agreed with Obama's decision against releasing photos of a deceased bin Laden.
After all, Maddow said, many Iraqis refused to believe that Saddam Hussein's sons were no longer alive after the US military released photos of them upon their deaths.
Not only that, Maddow argued, look at what happened after our military unveiled a photo of deceased terrorist Zarqawi (video after page break) --
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, panel member Katty Kay of the BBC claimed that Vice President Dick Cheney had convinced 70 percent of Americans to believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, and that he "hoodwinked the American public." Kay’s accusation came as host Matthews had turned the discussion to the topic of how President Obama might have handled the response to the 9/11 attacks differently than President Bush.
Bob Woodward of the Washington Post asserted that "there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq until we invaded, and then they came." But, as previously documented by NewsBusters, before the 2003 invasion, varous news sources - some American, some from other countries - were already citing the governments of several countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks against targets in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan.
Kay then chimed in, as she suggested that Cheney had convinced most Americans that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, although she seemed to mistakenly use the word "Iraq" instead of "9/11." Kay: "But the, sort of, political ‘extraordinaryness’ of the Bush administration was that Cheney managed to convince 70 percent of American people that Iraq was, that Saddam Hussein was directly behind Iraq and hoodwinked the American public."
Matthews responded: "In the polling, you’re right, it’s in the polling."
Since Friday’s presidential debate, all three major broadcast networks have highlighted one of Barack Obama’s more commanding moments when he charged that John McCain was wrong in some of his pre-Iraq war predictions, but the media have so far ignored Obama’s incorrect assertion that "there was no Al-Qaeda" presence in Iraq before America’s invasion in 2003. Before the 2003 invasion, various news sources – some American, some from other countries – were already citing the governments of various countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks to be carried out in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan. But during Friday’s debate, Senator Obama asserted: "Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al-Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan."
By contrast, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all played the following soundbite of Obama from the debate which is more favorable to the Illinois Democrat: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And, at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong."
Notably, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began." The below was first posted on February 29 of this year, and lists some of the relevant reporting on Zarqawi from various sources and countries:
While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media's failure to correct Barack Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war. In fact, four years ago, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally "passed up several opportunities" to attack terrorist bases in Iraq "long before the war" in 2002 because of fear it would "undercut its case" for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. (Transcripts follow)