Embedded Journalism

Joel Bleifuss

One of the problems mainstream news organizations now face is how to cover this story, without acknowledging that they themselves have been the prime purveyors of misleading information in the debate over the war in Iraq.For example, internal New York Times e-mails provide convincing evidence that the Times has been misled by an OSP-orchestrated disinformation campaign.The e-mails, leaked to Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, reveal that Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and ally of the Pentagon hard liners in the OSP, was the man the Times turned to for confirmation on Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. The communications in question focus on a turf squabble between John Burns, the Baghdad bureau chief, and Judith Miller, the paper’s reporter for bioterrorism. In response to a chastisement by Burns over her use of Chalabi as a source, Miller wrote, “I’ve been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper, including the long takeout we recently did on him. He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper.”

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Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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