First, it was CBS and Dan Rather getting caught in bed with the anti-Bush forces, resorting to using phony documents to accuse President Bush of shirking his responsibility to the Air National Guard.
Verdict: CBS/Rather caught with their pants down.
Next, ABC News executive Mark Halperin’s memo stressing the importance of being more suspicious of President Bush’s campaign claims than of Sen. Kerry’s campaign claims.
"[T]he current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done." So, Mr. Halperin writes, ABC News has "a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable… .”
Verdict: ABC News caught with its pants down.
Now, we have The New York Times, already reeling from failing to observe journalistic standards of honesty with the humiliating Jayson Blair episode, running a story that is either demonstrably false, or at least questionable in its assertions reported that 380 tons of high-degree munitions have been stolen or otherwise ripped off from a al Qaeda weapons facility.
"How did they fail to secure nearly 380 tons of known, deadly explosives despite clear warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency to do so?" Kerry campaign strategist Joe Lockhart said in a statement. "And why was this information unearthed by reporters -- and was it covered up by our national security officials?"
However, a report by NBC News counters Kerry's claims that the weapons disappeared because of post-war troop levels. In fact, the NBC News report shows that the HMX and RDX explosives were not present even when coalition forces first arrived at Al Qaqaa.
NBC News on Monday aired a report from Jim Miklaszewski who said that on April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, "NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qaqaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a radio talk show, “Well, here’s the situation. By our count, we have destroyed over 240,000 tons of weapons. And we have captured another 160,000 for a total of over 400,000… (the 160,000) are in line to be destroyed. There are hundreds of weapons sites that exist in that country that we’ve either emptied or guarded. And what’s going on now is a detailed investigation of precisely this situation. Although clearly, the Iraqi Survey Group investigated hundreds of sites in Iraq looking for weapons and clearly there were people there who believe that in many instances Saddam Hussein took weapons out of weapons sites …”
Verdict: The New York Times and other media outlets are caught with their pants down.
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