One good thing about posting on predominantly leftist discussion boards is that you're given a heads-up on certain pieces of propaganda that will soon come out within the political realm.
Hence, imagine how I felt when I received this goodie. It seems as if FAIR didn't like how Dick Cheney and others jumped on the mainstream media last week, so they decided to jump back. But just like most leftist propaganda, it consists of assertions that are full of holes and devoid of plain logic, as well as some highly deceptive statements.
Let's get started:
It would be one thing if he did quoted the beginning paragraph, but he didn't. Then FAIR lies about the initial statement in the story.
"On Fox's Special Report newscast (6/16/04), anchor Brit Hume charged that the media were mischaracterizing the report: "The Associated Press leads off its story on a new 9/11 commission report by saying the document bluntly contradicts the Bush administration by claiming to have no credible evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 terrorist attacks." Hume maintained that the AP story was inaccurate: "In fact, the Bush administration has never said that such evidence exists."
In fact, it's Hume that is misrepresenting the AP story-- quoting from the story's lead, but then changing its meaning through an inaccurate paraphrase. The story actually begins: "Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the September 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was 'no credible evidence' that Saddam Hussein had ties with Al Qaeda."
Here is the AP article:
"Rebuffing Bush administration claims, the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said Wednesday no evidence exists that al-Qaida had strong ties to Saddam Hussein. In hair-raising detail, the commission said the terror network had envisioned a much larger attack and is working hard to strike again."
So they can't even get that straight.
And what Brit Hume was referring to was the NEXT paragraph:
"Although Osama bin Laden asked for help from Iraq in the mid-1990s, Saddam's government never responded, according to a report by the commission staff based on interviews with government intelligence and law enforcement officials. The report asserted "no credible evidence" has emerged that Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 strikes."
You see? The Associated Press first started off stating that there was no Saddam/Al Qaeda link. Then in the very next paragraph, they state that Saddam had no links to September 11th, blurring the assertions of the Bush Administration.
Also, the Associated Press never clarified the kind of report this was. If you look at a previous post on this blog, you'll see 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman's statements in regards to the kind of report this was. This was not a finding or a confirmation by the 9/11 Commission itself, it was done by the Commission's staff. In this article, he decides to make that assertion in the article, but as for other articles - created by the Associated Press and others, they did not make that specific, and that this was not a ruling or consensus made by the Commission itself. That's why Lehman and Cheney among others have labelled these articles as lazy journalism.
Finally, the 9/11 Commission's job was to investigate the circumstances and controversies surrounding 9/11. It was not their responsibility to do it for each and every terrorist link between Al-Qaeda and Iraq. And considering the staff only took the time to address Iraq and Al-Qaeda in vague terms and with only one paragraph out of a 12 page report suggests that they didn't do a full inquiry into it.
Let's move on (no pun intended):
"Hume changed the allegation, from Hussein having ties with Al Qaeda to his having ties to the September 11 attacks, in order to knock it down, claiming that the Bush administration never linked Iraq to September 11. But that is not accurate either: Bush's letter to Congress formally announcing the commencement of hostilities against Iraq (3/18/03) explained that the use of force would be directed against "terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." In his "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln (5/1/03), Bush declared that the invasion of Iraq had "removed an ally of Al Qaeda."
When I saw this I almost wanted to throw up. This is supposed to be a so-called "media watchdog". Yet, who is watching them?
Well I am, and it just so happened that I remembered that James Taranto just checked USA Today for pulling this very same trick last week.
Here's what the letter REALLY said:
"Acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
So, Bush never said that Iraq planned or aided 9/11. He only said any measures taken against Iraq was consistent with the fight against terrorism. Either FAIR's research was sloppy, or they outright distorted what Bush said.
Here's some more:
"And during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press (9/14/03), when Vice President Dick Cheney was asked if he was "surprised" that so many Americans connected Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, Cheney responded:
"No. I think it's not surprising that people make that connection.... You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn't have any evidence of that. We've learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW , that Al Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the Al Qaeda organization."
Clearly, Cheney was describing exactly the sort of "collaborative relationship" that the September 11 commission now says that Iraq did not have with Al Qaeda, and stating that this relationship makes it "not surprising" that people would connect Iraq with the September 11 attacks."
FAIR tries to use this as proof that Cheney continued to lead people on. However, the only one that's leading anyone on is FAIR, who continues to mislead the readers into thinking the Commission said there was no link, when it was their staff. Then they tried to say there was no collaborative relationship, "that Iraq did not have with Al-Qaeda", when they simply say they couldn't find enough credible evidence.
Not finding enough credible evidence does not equate that something never happened. It means that either sufficient information wasn't requested and brought to them, or it means that they never highlighted an Iraq link as the key to an Al-Qaeda investigation. If they actually found evidence that pointed towards Iraq and Al-Qaeda not having a relationship, I think they would have said so. However, most of the information given, if FAIR had looked at the report, never showed any kind of animosity by Iraq to Al Qaeda nor did it show any evidence, as the wording of the report implies, that Al Qaeda was indeed rebuffed by Saddam. I'm sure that the Commission members would say there is alot to find out about Iraq and Al-Qaeda that we don't know now. But don't tell that to FAIR.
Either way you put it, FAIR is UNFAIR. And they need to start telling the truth instead of being a defender of the type of journalism - as well becoming an example of it themselves - that they are supposed to be protecting the public from.