October 24, 2005

MPM From the MSM

Hatched by Dafydd

Misinformation per minute from the mainstream media, that is. AP has an incredible story up -- with the word "incredible" meant literally: it's hard to count the number of misstatements, malicious manglings, myopic maunderings, and just plain mental missteps. If the author's name were not "Nancy Benac," I would assume Paul Krugman wrote it. (Maybe he has a secret identity.)

Let me just run through a few; but you really should read the original, lest I spoil the best parts.

NOTE: Bulleted points are quotations from the Benac story.

  • CIA officials asked [Joe Wilson] to travel to Africa in February 2002 to check out a report that Niger sold uranium to Iraq in the late 1990s for use in nuclear weapons. Wilson quickly concluded the report was bogus. (Documents related to the purported sale later were exposed as a forgery.)

Actually, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wilson quietly concluded the opposite... at least, that is what he told his CIA handlers. I'm sure that was just an honest mistake from Ms. Benac, who is an honorable woman. They are all honorable men (and women) at the Associated Press.

Clifford May is the man-on-the-spot at the National Review to debunk this first set of -- misunderstandings (for Nancy Benac is an honorable woman). (And a tip of the hat to Power Line for the link.) From July 12th, 2004:


Ironically, Senate investigators found that at least some of what Wilson told his CIA briefer not only failed to persuade the agency that there was nothing to reports of Niger-Iraq link — his information actually created additional suspicion.

A former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, told Wilson that in June 1999, a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations." Mayaki, knowing how few commodities for export are produced by impoverished Niger [basically just yellowcake and animal hides --DaH], interpreted that to mean that Saddam was seeking uranium.


Yes, there were fake documents relating to Niger-Iraq sales. But no, those forgeries were not the evidence that convinced British intelligence that Saddam may have been shopping for "yellowcake" uranium. On the contrary, according to some intelligence sources, the forgery was planted in order to be discovered — as a ruse to discredit the story of a Niger-Iraq link, to persuade people there were no grounds for the charge. If that was the plan, it worked like a charm.

But that's not all. The Butler report, yet another British government inquiry, also is expected to conclude this week that British intelligence was correct to say that Saddam sought uranium from Niger. [And so it did. --DaH]

  • The Times' Judith Miller went to jail for 85 days before sharing with the grand jury what she knew. After [I. Lewis "Scooter"] Libby personally assured her that he had waived her pledge of confidentiality, Miller told the grand jury about three conversations with him.

In fact, Libby had "waived her pledge of confidentiality" a year before she reported to la calabooza. If she were in any doubt about his seriousness, she had only to pick up the phone and call him or have her attorney do so. Whatever is the reason for her curious decision to don prison gray, like Joan of Arc, and suffer for the cause -- and speculation is delicious -- it was not uncertainty whether Libby had really, truly, actually waived confidentiality when he signed a document waiving confidentiality.

I'm sure that Nancy Benac knew all this and simply thought it too tedious to bring up, for they are all honorable men. Women. Whatever.

  • One important question is what Bush and Cheney might do if top aides like Rove or Libby are found to have been the leakers. Bush initially pledged to fire any leakers but later gave himself more wiggle room by promising to fire anyone who is found to have committed a crime.

This is pure invention from the MSM, though certes, they are all honorable. Nobody has found any quotation from Bush where he said he would "fire any leakers," or fire anyone who spoke to reporters about Mrs. Wilson, or any other such prejudicial nonsense.

This all stems from a reporter who started asking a question of the president at a press conference. I don't recall the exact wording, but he said as preamble that Bush had promised to fire any leakers, and did he still stand by that pledge.

President Bush tried to answer, but the reporter kept talking, forcing the president to repeat his answer. In a move eerily presaging what was done later to Laura Bush to falsely make it appear as though she were calling Miers critics "sexists," the reporter seized upon the word "yes" that began Bush's answer -- and clearly referred to another point of the question -- to claim that Bush had therefore agreed with the reporter's premise that Bush earlier said he would fire any leakers... notwithstanding the fact that Bush had said no such thing.

Note how this asinine claim has progressed: nobody can find an original quotation of Bush saying he would "fire any leakers;" so the reporter's premise, at least as publicly provable, was factually wrong. But by tacking it onto a question that would certainly draw a "Yes" response (Bush responding that no one convicted of a crime in this affair would have a place in his administration), the reporter could later claim that Bush had retroactively made the reporter's false premise true!

And after that bit of legerdemain, all the news media may take it as read that "Bush initially pledged to fire any leakers." See how easy that was? Though we must absolve Ms. Benac of blame, for she is an honorable woman.

  • In a way, the whole Wilson saga can be traced back to Cheney and Bush. It was Cheney's interest in the alleged Iraq-Niger deal that led the CIA to dispatch Wilson to Africa.

Well, so sayeth Mr. Wilson. He claims that:

In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report.

But Condoleezza Rice, then National Security Advisor and now Secretary of State, and a hot tomato in both positions, begs to demur. From a CNN transcript of an interview with Wolf Blitzer, posted by JustOneMinute a couple of years ago:

BLITZER: Who sent [Wilson]?

RICE: Well, it was certainly not a level that had anything to do with the White House, and I do not believe at a level that had anything to do with the leadership of the CIA.

BLITZER: Supposedly, it came at the request of the vice president.

RICE: No, this is simply not true, and this is something that's been perpetuated that we simply have to straighten out.

The vice president did not ask that Joe Wilson go to Niger. The vice president did not know. I don't think he knew who Joe Wilson was, and he certainly didn't know that he was going.

It's still possible that the CIA simply misled poor Joe Wilson into thinking the VP really wanted to know; but if so, why would they send a retired ambassador with no expertise in either Iraq or WMD, no experience as an investigator, and who did not even work for the Company? Heck, they could at least have sent the man's wife instead. In any event, official denials of the administration should disallow AP -- for they are all honorable, all honorable persons -- from stating as fact what is still in dispute.

  • And it [was] Bush's use of the debunked claim in his State of the Union address that led Wilson to publish his doubts.

Just in case you missed it the first time; for being honorable men, they could not do otherwise than to remind you. And women... honorable women.

I'm afraid I have spoilt it for you after all, those intrepid few who read to the end of this post. But don't fret: I'm sure these honorable persons, variously male and female, will give us another incredible story to digest tomorrow!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 24, 2005, at the time of 2:06 AM

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The following hissed in response by: CroolWurld

Great post. As Stalin said, if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

I am the Queen of France!
I am the Queen of France!
I am the Queen of France!
I am the Queen of France!

The above hissed in response by: CroolWurld [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 7:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: RBMN

It's true, there were forged documents that someone in Africa forged to sell to Italian Intelligence, to make a little money. But, neither the Americans or British relied on those documents to come to their conclusion about yellow-cake uranium "sought in Africa" by Iraqis. Our information and the British information was independent of the forgeries provided by Italy, and not "debunked" by Joe Wilson. The disagreement about importance was between the CIA and the US State Department. The British agreed with the CIA--it was good information. High-level Iraqi delegations don't go to Niger to negotiate the sale of cow peas. What else does Niger have that Iraq wants? Nothing.

The above hissed in response by: RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 9:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: senorlechero

Michael Isikoff shares the by-line on a Newsweek story which repeats all the same lies (they are lies if the author knows what they are saying is not true.........surely Isikoff and the others know what they are saying is not true).

It's amazing that these "reporters" can so boldly state this garbage as fact and still bear the claim to being "honorable persons"........variously male and female.

The above hissed in response by: senorlechero [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 9:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist


i agree, but it is only going to get worse, for we live in a Country of 'Suicidal Fanatics'...so to speak.

Chances for America are up...unless, America rids itself of the Democrat Party.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 6:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist


Yes, you are correct; however, America is about to enter a 'Time Zone' that will make mere seconds look like Millenniums. i suspect...


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 6:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

One comment deleted... sorry, KarmiCommunist, can't go there. Liability reasons.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 7:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

One comment deleted... sorry, KarmiCommunist, can't go there.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 8:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist


Sorry, Dafydd, just realized that i had saved it on MS Word, so shall place it at my blog in hopes that they dare try to sue gentle hermit me.



The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 8:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

MPM - Misinformation per minute

Close enough...now, let us get real. 'Thangs could move to MPS this week...as in, 'Misinformation per Second'.

i'm ready...

The Gentle Humble one

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 11:23 PM

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