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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Al Qaaqaa - From Explosives Scandal to Media Scandal

It turns out that the New York Times was let off easy on the Al Qaaqaa fiasco. CBS was trying to hold the Bush-damaging story in order to run it in the final hours of the campaign - when there would be insufficient time to present the facts - but the Times broke it. The initial explanation was journalistic "competitiveness".

Except they weren't competing with CBS. They too, had planned to hold it for Monday publication - until it began to leak into the blogosphere. According to the Washington Post, their hand was forced.

On Sunday night, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller told Jeff Fager, executive producer of CBS's "60 Minutes," that the story they had been jointly pursuing on missing Iraqi ammunition was starting to leak on the Internet.

"You know what? We're going to have to run it Monday," Keller said.

Bill at INDC has the Russian angle covered (including possible connections to the "caught in the crossfire" incident involving Russian "diplomats), while Wizbang is providing updates and asking for assistance in exploring the discrepencies between the original IAEA inspections and their subsequent reports.

The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing - presumably stolen due to a lack of security - was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.

But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over 3 tons of RDX was stored at the facility - a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.

More at Instapundit, while Powerline is covering the follow-up "reporting" by the Times and finds they are still working hard to salvage/spin this story.
Once again, the Times appears to be the only news organization in America that doesn't know that the 101st Airborne merely passed through Al Qaqaa on the way to Baghdad without searching the site. It was the 3rd ID, which reached Al QaQaa six days earlier, that knew the site needed to be searched, and did, indeed, search it. Can the Times really be this inept? I don't think so. I think it's deliberate. No newspaper could be this bad accidentally.

Posted by Kate McMillan on October 28, 2004 in Media | Permalink


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When the future editor of the New York Sun ran that Sept 10 era proto-blog, SmarterTimes, he was generally dismissed as a crank with too much time on his hands. Funny that.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-10-28 9:40:48 AM

Long live the Pyjamahedeen!

Posted by: Garth Wood | 2004-10-28 3:46:15 PM

First, this was going to be the Democrat's big "October Suprise". Too bad it blew up into their faces. (And yes, the New York Times and CBS are nothing more than the propaganda branch of the Democratic Party.)

Second, next time I hear someone in the media trying to excuse glaring errors in their stories by saying that mistakes get made when rushing to break a story, I'll call b******t and use this as example. If breaking a story is what the media does, why were they sitting on a story so they could run it at a time when it would do the most damage to one of the candidates?

Third, I would love hear the story of how this devious and underhanded little stunt was sniffed out and exposed in time for the story to get ripped to shreds.

Posted by: David Crawford | 2004-10-28 5:06:29 PM

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