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Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Washington Post Strikes Again Edition)

Greg Sargent wonders just what Jonathan Weisman and Charles Babbington are thinking:

The Horse's Mouth: REPUBLICAN FALSEHOODS GO UNCORRECTED IN WASHINGTON POST. Today's Washington Post piece on yesterday's congressional debates about Iraq floated two key GOP falsehoods without debunking them. The first:

"I'm not surprised at John Kerry switching his position yet again," [Dick] Cheney said on Sean Hannity's radio talk show. Kerry is charging "that somehow he was misled," the vice president said. "He wasn't misled. He saw the same intelligence all the rest of us saw."

Lies, lies, lies. The falsehood that the President and Congress had access to the same intel in the runup to Iraq has been thoroughly debunked numerous times. Yet the administration has continued to peddle this line for years. And here it is again, quoted in the Post, with not a single word providing this crucial context or noting that it is simply false.

The second:

Central to the House Republicans' argument was the much-disputed link between the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq.

Much-disputed? Not a single scrap of real evidence has ever emerged linking Sept. 11 to Iraq. No one with any credibility at all believes there were any such links. Hence, there are no meaningful connections between Sept. 11 and "the war in Iraq," only rhetorical ones conjured up by people who want to cloud the issue and retroactively justify our failing Iraq venture. To describe this as "much-disputed" creates the false impression that the jury's still out on the question of whether there's some sort of real, meaningful link between the two.... [L]ittle by little, such journalistic failures add up. The numbing repetition of uncorrected falsehoods creates a phony atmosphere of uncertainty around key questions which in fact have already been resolved. Eventually voters throw up their hands and accept the fact that they'll never know for sure what the truth is, and confusion ensues. If the media more aggressively debunked such lies -- every single time, and in every single context -- voters just might stand a chance.

In my view, it's simple: getting the story right is simply not on the list of things they care about. All else follows from that. Trust nothing in the Washington Post until it is independently verified.

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