MOYERS: It didn’t make sense to Simon that the dictator would
trust islamic terrorists.
Saddam as most tyrants, was a total control freak. He wanted total
control of his regime. Total control of the country. And to introduce a
wild card like Al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not
do. So I just didn’t believe it for an instant.
BAMFORD: From the very beginning
Chalabi was paid a lot
of money from the US taxpayers. The CIA paid him originally about
350,000 dollars a month, to Chalabi and his organization. The CIA
finally caught on in the mid-90s that– Chalabi was a conman basically.
And, they dropped him.
MOYERS: Chalabi’s handlers in
Washington were not deterred
by that stain on his credibility. He charmed Congress out of millions
more dollars for his cause, and had the press eating out of his
MOYERS: Leslie Stahl and CBS
Retracted their story a year
after the invasion when nearly all the evidence presented by defectors
proved to be false.
VANITY FAIR’s Rose later said high government officials had
confirmed his stories. But these were the very officials who had bet on
Chalabi as their favorite man o’war. To the Knight Ridder team it all
smelled of a con game.
WALCOTT: What he did was
reasonably clever but
fairly obvious, which is he gave the same stuff to some reporters that,
for one reason or another, he felt would simply report it. And then he
gave the same stuff to people in the Vice President’s office and in the
Secretary of Defense’s office. And so, if the reporter called the
Department of Defense or the Vice President’s office to check, they
would’ve said, “Oh, I think that’s– you can go with that. We have
that, too.” So, you create the appearance, or Chalabi created the
appearance, that there were two sources, and that the information had
been independently confirmed, when, in fact, there was only one source.
And it hadn’t been confirmed by anybody.
BUSH: The regime has long
standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.
BOB SIMON: Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Repeat
Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Just keep it going.
Keep that drum beat going.
And it was effective because long after it was well established that
there was no link between Al Qaeda and the government of Iraq and the
Saddam regime, the polls showed that an overwhelming majority of
Americans believed that Al Qaeda– that Iraq was responsible for
illustrates a pet peeve of mine. It was called
to the attention of the Administration that the majority of the
American people had this misperception. A responsible leader
would have gone on the air and corrected this misperception, told the
people that they were mistaken. But there were no responsible
leaders to be found.
MOYERS: Critics point to
September eight, 2002 and to your show in particular, as the classic
case of how the press and the government became inseparable.
Someone in the administration plants a dramatic story in the NEW YORK
TIMES And then the Vice President comes on your show and points to the
NEW YORK TIMES. It’s a circular, self-confirming leak.
TIM RUSSERT: I don’t know how Judith Miller and
Michael Gordon reported that story, who their sources were. It was a
front-page story of the NEW YORK TIMES. When Secretary Rice and Vice
President Cheney and others came up that Sunday morning on all the
Sunday shows, they did exactly that.
is more, much more. They went on the count the stories about
Iraq, leading up to the war, and found that almost all of them could be
traced to sources within the White House, and nobody bothered to check
the facts. OK, just one more quote:
ISAACSON: One of the great pressures we’re facing in
journalism now is it’s a lot cheaper to hire thumb suckers and pundits
and have talk shows on the air than actually have bureaus and
reporters. And in the age of the internet when everybody’s a pundit,
we’re still gonna need somebody there to go talk to the colonels, to be
on the ground in Baghdad and stuff and that’s very expensive.
DAN RATHER: Reporting is hard. The substitute for
reporting far too often has become let’s just ring up an expert. Let’s
see. These are experts on– international armaments. And I’ll just go
down the list here and check Richard Perle.
Why am I so bothered by propaganda. I mean, aside from the
fact that it is all lies? What bothers me is that the pros
use psychology. Psychology, developed by scientists who
intend for their work to be used for good, is instead put to evil uses.
People who do that betray the lineage of teachers who
developed the knowledge, and bestowed that knowledge to their students.
That really bugs me.