Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Media - I used to think it might be unintentional

Bias, that is.

This morning, though, I happened to catch the beginning of "Good Morning America" where our friendly and cuddly hosts talked to the serious guys in the field, and one of their top stories was about a Washington Post article that shows that when Bush said in an interview on Polish TV back in 2003 that "we found weapons of mass destruction" that he knew otherwise.

Yet more embarrassing for the Bush administration -- is pretty much what the consensus between the hosts and reporter was.

Now if you've read me much, you know that I don't operate under the assumption that Bush is either stupid or evil. I find it difficult to believe that the man would be that careless as to say something he knew wasn't true.

But about half the country is convinced that "Bush Lied" -- and no wonder. It appears that the mainstream media is going out of its way to promote and perpetuate that perception.

So I hunted up the interview to read it. I thought "well, he probably couched it in more careful language than that and was just selectively quoted". But after reading the interview... nope, he wasn't. Either he was convinced, or he was lying.

So I was a little troubled by this.

The story in the Washington Times is headlined "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War". Reader perception: no evidence of biolabs. Subtitle "Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary". Reader perception: The administration knew better (note, though, that it doesn't end up being an actual lie, for that is excactly what the administration did -- however, the implication is that that's all the evidence the administration had).

I stopped reading the article at this point:

"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

As an aside, I'd like to point out that toilets are very biological.

At any rate -- that apparently was my mistake. But it's what readers do. The read enough of an article to get the gist of it -- and the gist seemed to be, and I'll say actually was "Bush Lied". My assumption was that I had read all of the important facts that were going to be presented. I took a journalism class -- I know how newspaper articles are supposed to be written. Inverted pyramid. Important stuff at the top, later paragraphs written such that the editor can chop it off at the end of any one of them and have a coherent story.

However, later a link to the Captain's Quarters -- where Ed actually read the whole article, he points to information later in the article, where some very critical information was burried. So I went back and read the rest of the article. Most of the rest of the article was focused on the report of the team report ... "the" team report .... the very last paragraphon page 1 of the electronic story says:

Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said.

Wait... so we spent all that time talking about "the" technical team's report up to this point without revealing that there were at least three teams - and in fact, two concluded that they were weapons labs.

The rest of the story goes on to detail when the report was made, what their findings were, a few choice quotes about the opinions of the team (back to "the" team ... only once is there a subtle indication that there were other reports when they used the term "that" report) and a damning undercurrent of coverup and denial.

In the end, when you glean the facts out of the story, we know of three teams that investigated these trailers. Two said they were, one said they weren't. We're given details about the production of the one that said they weren't, which turned out to be true. But the whole thing is spun to add fuel to the lying Bush administration perception that 90% of the MSM buys into and desparately wants everyone else to.

I"ve said it before. If you go looking for evidence of something hard enough, you start looking too selectively and anything can be construed as evidence supporting your premise. This is why there is no such thing as unbiased reporting. When 90% of the MSM press are self-proclaimed liberal Democrats, this is what you can expect. Using terms like "continuing", "yet again", "yet more" day after day, they're hoping to brainwash the American public into believing as they do. If they say it enough, it will "become" true.

I will be interested to see if the next democratic president is subject to the same fine-toothed and intensely magnified scrutiny that this one has been subjected to.

I'm pretty sure he or she won't be.

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