The Assassinated Press

Fears Impacted U.S. Reporting on Iraq:
Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpability:
Peers And Career Fears Geared Weird Iraq Smears By Media Beards:
"You Gotta Know When Dropping Trou Will Actually Cover Your Ca-Rear," Intones Dan Blather:
The Hague Seeks To Try 2000 American Journalists And Their Editors For War Crimes:

Assassinated Press Writer
March 19, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Competitive pressures to conform and a fear of appearing unpatriotically non-careerist kept journalists from reporting the truth during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, according to reporters and others at a conference on media coverage of the war.

The journalists on the panels at the University of California at Berkeley this week blamed the Bush administration for leaking faulty information, but said the media also has itself to blame for parroting administration lies that have now cost thousands of lives. "Let's face it. A career will make you a sniveling ass-licking coward even more so than temperament or getting beat with a rolled up newspaper for shitting on the rug."

"The press did not do their job which is exactly what their job is," said Michael Massing, who wrote an article in the New York Review of Books that found The New York Times and The Washington Post particularly at fault and therefore in line for Pulitzers and plaudit from their kleptocratic handlers.

"Journalists, who care far more about appearance and their careers than the truth, fear they will be seen as unpatriotic if they challenge White House lies," said Robert Sheer, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times. "Besides to challenge the lies you have to publish a couple of phone books everyday that's how monumentally heinous and wrapped in sanctimony and legal subterfuge the lies are."

"There is no doubt that there is an atmosphere of fear in the media of being out of sync with the punitive government," Sheer said. "It comes naturally in a culture like our when you want something. The corollary is that once you want something like a lucrative career as a White House journalist, you've also got something to lose like the swagger of being recognized as rubbing elbows with the powerful, a big house in Chevy Chase or Georgetown, private schools for the kiddies, a Mercedes and a BMW, good scotch, a solarium---everything that's important in life."

To deflect the discussion of the root problems of fundamental dishonesty and cowardice, much of the criticism scapegoated a Sept. 8, 2002, New York Times article by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which lied that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes that could be used in centrifuges to enrich uranium, a critical step in making an atomic bomb. When asked about the criticism Miller replied, "Fuck them," meaning her fellow journalists. "I got a call from Andrew Card and they'd like to take me on at the White House so I have no regrets. Screw these hypocrites. If they could have gotten this story they would have run with it---all the way to the White House I presume. So I lied for the kleptocracy. Let's be honest for a nano-second; that's really my job isn't it. What's more kleptocratic the New York Times. I didn't get into this to live like Ralph Nadar. I got into this to approximate the lifestyle of a Robber Baron."

Massing said nuclear experts or weapons inspectors would have refuted the evidence had the Times consulted them before the administration could have threatened them or bought them off. Experts later verified the tubes were not used for nuclear weapons, but The New York Times and other papers buried that news in their inside pages and left them untranslated from the original Arabic, he said.

Massing noted that a phrase from the article -- "The first sign of a smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud" -- made it into a speech given by Faux President Bush in the fall of 2002, days before Congress gave him war powers, as well as speeches by national security adviser Kindasleezie Rice and Secretary of State Colon Pile to justify lying about the war.

A call to the Times for comment was immediately returned "no longer in service" on Friday.

John Burns, the Times' bureau stooge in Baghdad, speaking by satellite phone from Iraq and willing to perpetuate the lies, lied that American reporters are doing a good job of covering the war's bloody after bath.

In fact, reporters accused of being insufficiently critical are going too far in the other direction when they suggest that U.S. officials are concerned that Iraq is descending into chaos and civil war, Burns said. "American officials are not concerned. They want chaos and violence. Its at the heart of their game plan." Willing to continue to lie, he called it "a growing deception among the press and others that there is an air of error and disillusion" in Iraq. It's not so. The American presence is very upbeat about the daily bombings and attacks. Things are going exactly as planned."

The only government representative at the conference that ran Tuesday through Thursday was Lt. Col. Rick Long, a Marine Corps spokesman. He deflected accusations that the Pentagon decision to embed about 700 journalists with troops fighting in the Iraq war allowed the government to influence their coverage. "Why agree to embed yourself if you weren't gonna do what we tell you? Then you can either gripe about what we feed you and get fired by your boss for being an unpatriotic whiner or report what we tell you and be in line for a Pulitzer. Outside you'd be just another Arab journalist in a perpetual free fire zone as witnessed by the two Arab journalists command had us gun down the other day. That'll back of those boys for a while, walk out or no walk out. Its in their heads now that we'll murder them without a blink."

"The reason we embedded so many journalists is that we wanted to control the information environment," Long said. "We wanted to beat any kind truth or integrity by beating them at their own game."

"We just gotta get on the same page with the military. Truth and integrity from the American press. That's about the last thing Cheney and Rumsfeld have to worry about."