Saturday, September 22, 2007

Media Matters: Petraeus = Powell:

In his book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, Eric Boehlert noted that ABC's Ted Koppel hosted Powell for three "in-depth interviews" on Nightline. In the first appearance, according to Boehlert, Powell "was not asked one question about his U.N. performance despite the fact that observers had already detailed the obvious errors in Powell's presentation. In fact it took the international press just one week to detail the holes in Powell's speech. But eight months later on Nightline, Koppel paid no attention to that fact." In what must surely be a coincidence, Koppel and Powell are, according to Boehlert, "good friends."

Less than five years ago, America's news media enthusiastically embraced Powell's U.N. address -- an address that we now know was riddled with untruths and bogus "evidence." But the nation's leading journalists and commentators bought it and shouted down skeptics. They bought it not after examining and assessing the quality of Powell's evidence, but because "Powell himself had presented it." They shouted down skeptics not because of the quality of the evidence, but because of the quality of the man. To be a skeptic required believing "that Colin Powell lied"; thus, being a skeptic was unacceptable.

Why dwell on that now? Because the media's coverage of David Petraeus in 2007 is depressingly similar to their treatment of Colin Powell in 2003.
A few of the columnists had regrets and rescinded their remarks about Powell in the following days but the first serious American media examination of the speech came many months later. Now it is pretty well universally acknowledged that Powell damaged his reputation to be a mouthpiece for lies. What would Powell say to Petraeus now?

Note - I had the main criticisms of Powell's speech from foreign sites soon after - his exaggerations, questionable claims and one outright lie that never got in the media here. I think I found my first post - Feb 17, the speech was Feb. 5. Some previous links of mine are dead like one Feb. 9 that pointed to another version of this. Easter Lemming, keeping you informed.

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