Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's misleading statements about the Bush administration's justification for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- that there were "[t]oo many unanswered questions about [Saddam Hussein's] weapons of mass destruction program," despite the Bush administration's pre-war claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that "[i]n the post-September 11 environment, [Iraq] was a threat that needed to be dealt with."
CNN's Wolf Blitzer uncritically aired Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's false assertion that "there was not an anticipation that the level of the insurgency" in Iraq "would be approximating what it is." But some people -- including military and foreign policy experts -- did anticipate a violent insurgency if the United States invaded Iraq.
The Washington Post has hired Michael Gerson -- who as President Bush's chief speechwriter from 2001-2005 crafted the false and misleading rhetoric the Bush administration used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq -- to be an op-ed columnist. The Post editorial board repeated without question some of that false and misleading rhetoric in its support of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has passed up several opportunities to re-examine its support of the Bush administration's push for war.
Less than two weeks after it was revealed that The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes had been chosen to write an official biography of Dick Cheney, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a postwar report on Iraq's weapons programs and its purported links to terrorism that thoroughly debunked the claim -- repeatedly advanced by Hayes -- that there existed a connection between the government of Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, and 9-11.
When a guest on The O'Reilly Factor questioned Bill O'Reilly's assertion that a hospital that treated a wounded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was "run by Uday Hussein," O'Reilly replied: "No, that's Stephen Hayes, and he stands behind his reporting, although he did make a mistake. ... He said that Zarqawi's leg was amputated, and it wasn't."
On MSNBC's Hardball, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund falsely suggested that "the British, the French, the German, and the American intelligence agencies all agree[d]" that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; in fact, according to various news reports, British, French, and German intelligence all agreed that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
Over the past 18 months, the media have repeatedly dismissed the need to follow up on new evidence that President Bush knowingly misled the nation in making the case to go to war in Iraq. Media figures have defended this lack of coverage by claiming that the public is already aware that Bush made false claims about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his purported arsenal of WMDs. But a recent Harris poll found that the share of Americans who believe Saddam actually did possess WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has increased substantially since February 2005, from 36 percent to 50 percent.
Keith Olbermann granted Sean Hannity second runner-up of his nightly "Worst Person" award for complaining that the media and the Bush administration were not "paying attention to what was the biggest story in the lead-up to the [Iraq] war": the discredited claim by Sen. Rick Santorum and House Intelligence Committee chairman Peter Hoekstra that a recently declassified intelligence report found that there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq prior to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Sean Hannity criticized both the media and the Bush administration for not "paying attention to what was the biggest story in the lead-up to the [Iraq] war": the discredited June 21 claim by Sen. Rick Santorum and House Intelligence Committee chairman Peter Hoekstra that a recently declassified intelligence report found that there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq prior to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion. But intelligence officials, military officials, and the Bush administration have all confirmed that the pre-1991 shells were not the WMDs that the Bush administration cited in its argument for war.
In his syndicated column, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III claimed that "[t]he hardened historical narrative" on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq "needs to be amended" because of the assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that a recently declassified report found there were WMDs in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion. Bozell ignored conclusive declarations by intelligence officials that the degraded chemical munitions hyped by Santorum and Hoekstra were not, in fact, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction."
Chris Matthews and Time columnists Andrew Sullivan and Joe Klein heaped praise on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, never mentioning that Rice, in her current capacity and previously as national security adviser, repeatedly made false or misleading statements about the administration's use of intelligence in advance of the Iraq war and pre-9-11 intelligence.
Fox News' Brit Hume, John Gibson, and Jim Angle, as well as nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Janet Parshall, continued to ignore conclusive assertions of intelligence officials that the degraded chemical munitions found in Iraq and hyped by Sen. Rick Santorum and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra were not, in fact, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction" that the U.S. was looking for at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
On June 21, hosts and guests on several Fox News programs hyped a false assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, despite the network's own reporting that discredited the claim.
The Associated Press and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that he did not "think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered" in Iraq, as well as Cheney's claim that when Cheney said in May 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," he was referring to "the series of events that took place in" 2005. In fact, some did anticipate a violent insurgency if the United States invaded Iraq, and Cheney explicitly based his "last throes" assessment on the insurgency's "level of activity, from a military standpoint."
On Fox News' Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Robert Pollock falsely claimed that former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith "was more right than the CIA" about "Saddam's links to Al Qaeda." In fact, Feith's assertions that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship have been downplayed by the Department of Defense, discredited by the 9-11 Commission, and contradicted by various other sources as documented in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.