NRO: We Can’t Trust the Media to Report Honestly on Iran

David Harsanyi documents media failures in reporting on the assassination of Qasem Soleimani. The story at issue in not the story. That bad journalism is now standard is the story.

19 thoughts on “NRO: We Can’t Trust the Media to Report Honestly on Iran

  1. Don’t forget, the whole of American media reported very accurately on Richard Butler’s decision to leave Iraq confident of the fact that he had eliminated Saddam’s WMD capabilities.

    Oh, but in 2003, the story from the White House, again accurately reported, was that Saddam kicked out Butler and had reconstituted a nuclear weapon (one, said Dick Cheney).

    The media isn’t the problem, after all, they can only report what they are told or discover.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Harasanyi cherry picks the NYT piece to try and make a point. If, as presented, it was DOD who presented the options to respond to Iran at the end of December, including taking out the Iranian general, I posit that they were not aware of Pompeo and Pence beating the drum earlier in the year to take out Solemiani.

    It often appears as if the right hand and left hand of this administration is at odds with each other and doesn’t know what the other one is up to. Trump declared that he loves being surrounded by chaos a long time ago. However, it would make more sense to have all of the voices heard and aware of what each other is thinking and recommending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “I posit that they [DOD] were not aware of Pompeo and Pence beating the drum”

      You “posit” too much. Harsanyi’s point, after all, is that Trump authorized the killing seven months before it happened. Maybe NYT didn’t know this, but ignorance is no excuse for the spin NYT gave to events in its own telling. NYT reported pure speculation as if it were fact.

      As I said, the story at issue is not the story.


      1. Until it is proven otherwise, I stand by my position.

        And the NYT reported what its sources reported to them. Follow up may or may not have proven otherwise, but they did what is expected: reported the information they were provided.


      2. RE: “And the NYT reported what its sources reported to them.”

        Doesn’t matter. NYT failed to substantiate what it was told. Worse, it failed to disclose to its readers that — lacking substantiation — its own report was speculative.

        No matter how you rationalize it, the result was shoddy work.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If nothing else this NRO story tends to confirm that the “imminent threat” justification for this act of war was an outright lie.

    Contrary to what some people believe, the President has no Constitutional authority to initiate a war or launch a “military adventure.” His legal authority to do so comes from the War Powers Act where Congress delegated THEIR exclusive constitutional war-making authority to him under very specific conditions. None of which were met.

    We have tiptoed around the abuse of war authority by previous administrations of both parties. It is time to rein the President in. And doubly so when the person in question is struggling with dementia and other psychiatric issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Congress delegated THEIR exclusive constitutional war-making authority”

      Constitutional authority cannot be “delegated,” as you suggest. It can be altered only by amendment.


      1. @Roberts

        You may be correct. Perhaps the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. Something to think about. If so, the President launching acts of war based on lies may be unconstitutional as well as illegal. In either case, certainly an impeachable offense.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. National Review wants to ratchet up tensions in the Middle East. Shocker.

    Also, is there credible evidence to suggest Soleimani was a “terrorist” rather than a high-ranking military leader of an internationally-recognized sovereign state?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “NRO: We Can’t Trust the Media to Report Honestly on Iran”

    No, we can’t trust the administration to report honestly on anything. So it may take some time to dig, check sources, confirm, interview…

    And meanwhile people want to know why we blew up an Iranian leader in Iraq.

    The article seems to suggest that we should have waited for a few weeks so the regime can get its “story” straight. Unfortunately, the reason we finally know what is happening is the dogged determination to hold the administration’s feet to the fire and get some semblance of the truth.

    Trump’s impulsiveness is well documented by his own tweets in which he re-tweets racist screeds, videos and other garbage without even checking sources. Or insulting international leaders, like the mayor of London, by not even thinking about what actually took place. And literally thousands of other rash and reckless announcements from his phone.

    So it is not a stretch that some media might make assumptions as the story develops.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “The article seems to suggest that we should have waited for a few weeks so the regime can get its ‘story’ straight.”

      No, the article suggests that journalists shouldn’t make stuff up when they don’t know the facts. In this case, NYT fabricated a narrative that NBC a few days later obliterated.

      Under such circumstances, why trust NYT?


      1. …” journalists shouldn’t make stuff up “…
        The same is true of the administration and its leader. “Because I said so” is what one says when one makes shit up.


  6. “Bad journalism is now the standard.”

    There has always been bad journalism, at least as long as there has been journalists.

    And there has never been perfect journalism, and never will be.

    If NYT gets some parts of a story wrong, it won’t be long before someone else corrects them or at least provides alternate sources and analysis.

    Probably the biggest and costliest error in recent times was that the NYT supported the invasion of Iraq despite evidence that contradicted the lies about Saddam’s nuclear program. They have so admitted and taken the blame, as they should have. When a major media like the Times abrogates its constitutionally protected role of being a watchdog, it provides no protection from administrative overreach.

    At the time of the invasion, the country was in a bit of a turmoil and any criticism of the administration policies was blatantly called unpatriotic. Even Congressmen that had contrary information were effectively silenced.

    And that was a really good example of what happens when a government goes off the deep end and the watchdogs are cowed into silence or tacit acceptance.

    Trump, as we know, purposely denigrates the media, except for his propaganda arm, FOX, just because he wants to create doubt and confusion among his fellow Americans. For that reason alone, it is very important for the MSM to keep the regime on its toes every day in every way.

    All media will not get it right all the time, after all, they are human organizations and they are competing to sell a product. But the minute we accept at face value whatever government tells us, we are ceding more and more power from the people to the administration. Every country around the globe that are, or have become more, autocratic have done so by jailing journalists and spreading lies about the media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “But the minute we accept at face value whatever government tells us, we are ceding more and more power from the people to the administration.”

      Pitty you don’t see the same problem with NYT.


      1. I thought I wrote that media is not perfect, but I’ll check again.

        The big difference is that there are dozens of major media organizations and an endless supply of newer web based sites like Intercept, Vox, Zerohedge, etc. and none of them have the powers our government has over our lives. They can’t arrest you, tax you, fine you, tell you what to burn and when, etc.

        And that is major.

        If you don’t like what NYT says, go elsewhere. In our country you can still do that since Trump hasn’t figured out a way to sue the media or suspend the licenses of NBC, CBS…yet. Though he has expressed disappointment that he can’t. And joking or not, he expressed envy of the way Putin handles pesky journalists. What a kidder that Trump.

        Just pray that day will never come because that will be the end of our little experiment in self-governance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The media is comparable to organized religion.

    In many instances, you see political pundits (analysts and/or commentators) preaching to the masses.

    Here’s a clip of President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.

    My advise (take it or not) is to listen/read what “journalists” promulgate with a healthy amount of skeptism.


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