Matt Lauer from the Today Show sat down with the three major corporate network news anchors, Brian Williams, Katie Couric, and Charlie Gibson. They were promoting “Stand Up to Cancer” but while Lauer had them in studio he asked them to respond to McClellan’s charges that the media was too deferential in the run up to Iraq.
Here is the result. (h/t Glenn Greenwald)
Couric’s assessment was fair but a bit lacking. The Bush administration is media savvy. They knew how to bully reporters. Her claim was a little bit narrow in that she felt like it didn’t effect her coverage, but admitted that she felt that it affected the coverage in the media generally. In all fairness, Lauer poked her in that direction also, ensuring she did not impugn the integrity of the news organization she worked previously.
Brian Williams was establishment enabling as always. It was basic apologetics. The media wanted to verify the administration’s claims, but it was just too hard. Iraq is on the other side of the Earth you know.
Then along comes Gibson and demonstrates what being a complete and utter douche is all about. He thinks the media did a terrific job, couldn’t have done any better. He was a grizzled veteran of the administration’s tactics, but he stood up to them. The media questioned Powell’s U.N. presentation. Gibson was a fine example of such skepticism. Here is an example of him asking those hard-hitting questions he asked in the run-up to the war from Glenn Greenwald’s update:
On February 6, 2003 — the day of Powell’s speech — Gibson had on as guests former CIA Director James Woolsey and Terence Taylor of the International Institute For Strategic Studies to analyze Powell’s claims. Here are some of the super-tough, skeptical questions Gibson asked:
* Terence Taylor, let me start with you. Specifically, of all the biological and chemical weapons that he outlined, and the means of delivery, what’s the most frightening? Should be the most frightening?
* Question number two that was in my mind. James Woolsey, he showed intercepts, he showed photo intelligence. He talked about human resources that we had. How much intelligence was compromised?
* On a scale of one to 10, one being the most sanitized of intelligence information and 10 being laying out all our intelligence ammunition, where was he yesterday on the scale?
* Terence Taylor, as I look at some of the pictures that we were talking about just a moment ago with James Woolsey, the pictures dramatic in that they show Iraqi trucks pulling away from sites virtually as the, as the inspectors trucks are pulling up. How compromised are the inspectors there? Are they totally infiltrated by Iraqi intelligence?
Here’s how the segment ended:
James Woolsey, the Iraqis immediately challenged a lot of what was shown, said it was altered, said it was doctored. The international community — do they know that stuff was genuine?
Oh, anybody who is objective about this I think does. The people who now doubt whether or not Saddam really has WMD programs, chemical and bacteriological, in particular, are really of two types, either they work for Saddam or they’re doing a human imitation of an ostrich. There really are, I think, no other possibilities.
James Woolsey, former CIA Director, Terence Taylor, former weapons inspector, I thank you both.
Again, I have to ask, how would Pravda be any different?
Although, Gibson already proved his credentials as Republican water-carrier as he jokes about the crowd turning on him at the Democratic debate that ABC hosted.
I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised.