Friday, June 04, 2004

Judy's Turn To Cry - The New York Times prepares an "Editors' Note" about its prewar WMD reporting. By Jack?Shafer

Judy's Turn To Cry - The New York Times prepares an "Editors' Note" about its prewar WMD reporting. By Jack?Shafer:


"Miller's work on WMD in the Times deserves special scrutiny because so many of her sensational stories never panned out?from a December 2001 piece about now-discredited Iraqi defector Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, who claimed inside knowledge about a score of Iraq WMD programs and storage facilities, to a December 2002 scoop about a possible Russia-Iraq smallpox collaboration, to a January 2003 eve-of-war piece reiterating the defectors' stories of Iraqi WMD. Miller's credulous reporting turned absolutely hyperbolic when she joined the search for WMD on the ground in Iraq, embedding with the U.S. military's Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha. In an April 21, 2003, piece, Miller claimed that an Iraqi scientist had led the military to a cache of precursor compounds for a banned 'toxic agent.' She told The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer the next day that the scientist was more than a 'smoking gun' in the WMD search, he was the 'silver bullet.' But by July 2003, still no WMD had been found in Iraq. Instead of blaming the defectors and inside sources who had led her astray, Miller put the onus on the poor logistics of the weapons search! (See this 'The Scoops That Melted,' a 'Press Box' from last year for more details.) "

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