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The only thing more pathetic than the collective media fail in the run-up to the war in Iraq has been their collective refusal to acknowledge their culpability in what has been described as the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history. And on Sunday, The Washington Post took that failure another pathetic step further with an article headlined On Iraq, journalists didn’t fail. They just didn’t succeed.
The Post begins this pitiful exercise in "not my fault" by pointing to the four whole articles they published approximately 72 hours before the first bombs fell on Baghdad, only conceding that:
Perhaps it was too late by then. But this doesn’t sound like failure.
Perhaps? That's one way to put it. (Also, please note, of the four articles referenced by The Washington Post in their lede, only one questioned the validity of the Bush administration's rationale for war. It ran on page 17.)
They follow with this:
After reviewing 576 news and opinion stories before and immediately after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, former New York Times columnist Leslie H. Gelb came to a less damning conclusion.
So, someone—who, by the way, supported the war—reviewed 576 whole stories that ran in the media before and immediately after the invasion and concluded that "The elite press did not embarrass itself to the degree widely assumed," so presto, change-o, The Washington Post didn't fail.
Well, first, screw the "after" because (1) by that time it was too late and (2) it has nothing to do with the question of media coverage in the lead-up to the war. And (3) it ignores the pesky little fact that between the Authorization to Use Military Force Against Iraq, signed on October 16, 2002, and March 15, 2003—the day before the date referenced by The Washington Post in the lede of this article to "prove" they didn't fail in their pre-war coverage—a quick Nexis search shows that The Washington Post alone ran 1,080 news or opinion stories on Iraq. I'm guessing they haven't bothered to review those.
But, going forward, here's a suggestion for The Washington Post (and their media brethren): The time to question a march to war is long before the bomb targets are locked and the boots are on the ground. You know, 4,486 Americans will thank you. Well, they would ... but they're dead.