Michael Tomasky on the Weapons Story:
Holding a government’s feet to the fire over such unforgivable errors is exactly what journalism was invented to do. But these days, journalistic demands for accountability are attacked as evidence of “bias.” But if there’s any bias in the Times story, it’s a bias in defense of our nation’s unnecessarily endangered fighting men and women, and a bias in favor of getting important information in front of voters before they make their decision. Those are biases journalism must defend, no matter how intense the pressure from an ideological cadre to do the opposite.
The Bush administration will move quickly to deflect blame. They have already blamed the Iraqis (remember how they scolded John Kerry for criticizing Allawi’s recitation of the Bush talking points?). Next they will blame the media for pushing this story. In fact, it’s true that the media should be blamed. They should be blamed for taking the Bush administrations’ words at face value for so long and being so completely crippled by the transparent right wing attacks on their so-called biases. Come on. The President did a sit-down interview with friggin’ Sean Hannity! Wake up, mainstream media.
And then, of course, they will attack John Kerry and try to use this as another opportunity to scare us. But what can they say on this one? They let the wolves out of the cages and they left the raw meat uncovered. John Kerry couldn’t make American soldiers and citizens less safe if he tried. All the summits in the world couldn’t have come up with a way to screw this effort up more completely.
The case of the missing explosives is a big story. But it is not one that is in any way out of context with the broader story of W’s Iraqi debacle. Hopefully its coverage will be.