Man Without Qualities

Monday, June 07, 2004

Herr Doktorprofessor Tells The Truth! IV: Fear And Loathing On West Forty-Third Street

In the Washington Times, Joel Mowbray writes about the descent of the New York Times reporting into absurdist Gonzo farce:

According to the reporting of the New York Times, upon being told that his country's code had been compromised, an Iranian intelligence agent turned around and sent a message back to the mullahs that the United States had cracked the code — by using the cracked code.

Never mind that the message could have been delivered by hand following a 2-hour drive.

Knowing that your code has been cracked is about the best gift that can be given. The potential for misinformation is enormous. Any Iranian intelligence agent would have had common sense enough not to slaughter the golden goose before it had been given the chance to lay any eggs. ....

The previous week, the paper had run a series of stories, first an attack on Mr. Chalabi with vague accusations of passing intelligence to Iran, and then an attack on Mr. Chalabi's strongest supporters, the hawks in the administration, specifically at the Pentagon. The pattern was repeated one week later.

The paper even went so far as to do its best to explain away the transparently goofy scenario. In the article, Iran's transmission of Mr. Chalabi's supposed leak was rationalized as the agent "possibly not believing Mr. Chalabi's account" after a single test message was not seized upon. But common sense dictates that far more than one test would have been sent before revealing to the United States that the code was broken.

But here's where the New York Times story gets downright contemptible. The article states that the administration had requested that news agencies hold off on the "code" story, "citing national security concerns," and "the Times agreed." Except there was nothing secret about the "code" story. .... And, for the record, the charges were published by National Review Online exactly two weeks ago — the Monday after the raid and fully nine days before the New York Times was given the government's OK to release the information. ....

Smearing Mr. Chalabi and administration hawks has the clear effect of undermining, in the public's eye, the justification and legitimacy of the war. Consequently, Mr. Bush gets hammered, since his support is pegged to the war's.

And that's the point...

It looks as though the New York Times has taken off the gloves, dropped the acid and roared off on a savage quest straight into the heart of the liberal media dream on this one. As Glenn Reynolds says: Read the whole thing.

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