Iraq, The Press And A Year To Forget

Tim McGivern
3 min read
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Here's a must-read piece from Michael Massing of the Columbia Journalism Review that nicely encapsulates the neutered nature of our mainstream press, especially cable TV news, when it comes to Iraq war coverage. It appeared in The New York Review of Books, Dec.16, entitled, “Iraq, the Press and the Election.” (

Another must-read comes from columnist Arianna Huffington. In a wit-laden sendoff to 2004 posted at (, Huffington upholds her contrarian tradition by pointing out some of the more forgettable moments of 2004. Here is a partial sample of her list:

That the woman who dismissed a presidential briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” as a “historical” document is going to be our next secretary of state.

That a man who finds the Geneva Conventions ’quaint' is going to be our next attorney general.

That it took 14 months and public protests from the victims’ families before the president OK’d the 9/11 Commission, but only two weeks before the first hearings were held on Janet Jackson’s boob.

Madrid, Spain, March 11, 2004.

Beslan, Russia, Sept. 3, 2004.

That the federal budget deficit hit $413 billion this year, and two-thirds of it is the result of Bush’s tax cuts.

That Dick Cheney is talking about another round of tax cuts.

That picture of Lynndie England holding the leash.

The way the administration tried to sweep Abu Ghraib under the rug.

William Hung, recording artist.

Ashlee Simpson, lip synch artist.

Bob Dylan, lingerie salesman.

That George Tenet, who knew that the intel on Iraqi WMD was thinner than Lara Flynn Boyle on Dexatrim, turned into the Dick Vitale of WMD: “It’s a slam dunk, baby!”

That George Tenet was subsequently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

That a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich allegedly bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000 on eBay.

That of the roughly 550 enemy combatants held captive in Guantánamo Bay only four have been formally charged.

The looks on George and Laura Bush’s faces when Dr. Phil asked them about the “epidemic levels of oral sex” in America’s middle schools.

That Osama is still on the loose—and releasing tapes.

That the Kyoto Protocol was ratified—and we aren’t part of it.

That Ken Lay has still not gone to trial or served a minute in jail.

That 35.9 million Americans live below the poverty line—12.9 million of them children.

That 42 percent of Americans still think Saddam Hussein was “directly involved in planning, financing or carrying out” the 9/11 attacks.

That, thanks to presidential cutbacks, we actually have fewer police and first responders on the streets today than we had on 9/11.

That Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz couldn’t remember the number of soldiers who’d lost their lives in Iraq.

Drilling for oil in the Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge (I’ve been desperately trying to forget this one since 2001, but the White House just won’t let me!).~

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