Iran: NYT Reporter Beats the Drum — Again

The New York Times reporter who in 2002 co-authored several articles with Judith Miller that contended with near certainty that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is parroting propaganda once again.

Michael Gordon, whose reporting in 2002 was instrumental in the Bush administrations argument to invade Iraq, and has since been famously proven false, is back at it — this time using weak sourcing to report Iran’s involvement in supplying bombs in Iraq.

Bloggers on both the right and the left are interpreting the U.S. government’s rhetoric as straight posturing, while the top story of the day — and believe it or not, the top issue this morning on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (where he is in the process of tearing Douglas Feith a new one) remains, ironically, the inspector general’s damning report on the Bush administration’s self-manufactured intel providing the definitive argument for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Is the Times already anxious to turn the page to Iran, days after Congressional Republicans appalled many legislators including at least 7 on the GOP, by effectively stifling a proposed debate/review on the Iraq War?

Greg Mitchell breaks down this “breaking news,” — as sourced by “civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies” — for Editor & Publisher:

Saturday’s New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the “deadliest weapon aimed at American troops” in Iraq.

The New York Times is running with Gordon’s report just weeks after Gordon was castigated by the paper for stating the following on the Charlie Rose Show:

“So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it’s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we’ve never really tried to win.

While failing to explain why we’ve been led to believe for so long that a Sunni-led insurgency is rife with IEDs (Iran is predominantly Shi’a), Gordon provides a bullhorn for Def. Sec. Robert Gates’ claim: “I Can Prove Iran’s Role in Iraq. Flip for more on Feith.

UPDATE: Dan Froomkin has further analysis on the media’s varied coverage and response to what was apparently a highly secretive and questionable display of “proof of Iranian involvement in Iraq” in his Monday column.

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Time to Reinvent the Local Media?

It can’t be easy to be James Rainey, the L.A. Times meta/media-critic, who writes from the bunker on Spring Street. Today at USC Annenberg he said that despite the fact that the Times covers hardly any of the 88 cities in the county, the news in L.A. just doesn’t happen without the Times, as everyone, bloggers included just rip and read. Surprisingly — nobody stepped up to disagree to this demonstrably wrong sentiment.

A couple people defended mentioning LAObserved, one said a bunch of the hyperlocal blogs such as Gothamist (or LAist, to which I’m a contributor) as offering fresh and uncribbed content.

The nugget was his offbeat comment that the inside word from a Times researcher — not a scare tactic — is that in 3 years the newspaper’s profit would sink to ZERO. This cynicism from an actual staff writer on media? I guess the Internet really is killing newspapers then, or something, eh?

Rainey added that it’s regretful that the Times is pressured to appease Wall Street and therefore can only focus on short-term fixes as opposed to advanced content development and dedicated Web innovation. But this says nothing about how they blew a chance for major traffic this week when they mis-posted the Schwarzenegger audio (their Political Muscle blog was quick with the transcripts, but good luck finding the 20 or so blogs via the latimes.com homepage), or why when I check LAT on my cellphone in the middle of the night it still says USC leads UCLA at half when the game has been over for hours. Where’s the “quick fix” there?

Where’s some non-corporate skepticism from the likes of a Tim Rutten when you need it, as opposed to the extended bullhorn of the man — complacent in supposedly being the only real news source in town.

Elsewhere in broke and struggling Tribune Company news: Q4 Profits up 80% on same quarter last year. Fools. I don’t get it. Let’s take over!

Is GE / NBC Pushing For U.S. Regime Change?

Some have argued that GE – NBC has trumped up their anti-Bush Administration rhetoric since shortly before the November 2006 midterm elections.

Culprit #1 is Chris Matthews, who in his career has probably been accused more of garnering an anti-Liberal (or pro-Republican) bias (he worked for four Democratic politicians in the ’70s, but was a “Goldwater Republican” and in 2000 voted for Bush). The host of MSNBC’s Hardball is a regular contributor to the Imus in the morning show. And today he dropped the F-Bomb:

“I’m so sick of Southern guys with ranches running this country. I want a guy to run for President who doesn’t have a fucking — I’m sorry, a ranch.”

Watch the video below.

Last month, Matthews slipped the *s* word into a rant on Hardball:

“If you want America to be a hegemonic power in the Middle East, you’re out of step with the American people. We’re not going to fight it out with Iran for the next 30 years to see who the big shit — I’m sorry — the big name is on the block.”

This video is after the jump.

Matthews initial transgression into vociferously anti-Bush sentiment was first noted just 6 weeks before the November elections. Think Progress has the clip:

Matthews said that most of the media was sold a bill of goods by the Bush administration, but that he’s been “a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning.” He added that Cheney was “totally wrong” about Iraq but still “talks like God on television, and we are supposed to believe every word.”


Continue reading “Is GE / NBC Pushing For U.S. Regime Change?”