Kate Kelly of the Wall Street Journal on the Final Days of Bear Stearns
Paul Krugman Is Optimistic About Inflation

Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post

He says that "we"--that is, the Washington Post's reporters and editors--failed to do their job. But there is one question: why has it taken him until 2008 to tell us this?

The Pot and the Kettle - Fact Checker: what of his criticism of the so-called "liberal media" which you can read in greater detail here? Were we "complicit enablers" for the Bush administration in its march to war?

As a reporter who was part of The Washington Post's foreign policy team during the period 2002-2003, I have thought about this question a lot over the past five years. Many of my colleagues have dismissed McClellan's criticisms, insisting that they asked "all the right questions" during the run-up to the war, and it was hardly our fault if the administration failed to answer them honestly. I disagree. I think the American media -- and that includes me, personally -- failed to do its job properly during the run-up to the war.

Part of the problem was the conventions of American journalism, which can sometimes reduce thinking reporters to unthinking note-takers.... [W]e were not permitted to question the rationale for war on our own authority, even if we had considerable experience in covering foreign policy and the Middle East.... [W]e had to find authoritative sources.... The senior administration officials who have since emerged as critics of the war, such as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, were all singing a very different tune at the time. It is legitimate to ask why none of these people went public with their doubts much earlier. As I recall, the most senior U.S. official to actually resign in protest against the war was the political counselor in the U.S.Embassy in Greece, John Kiesling....

None of this absolves the media of its share of the blame for uncritically relaying the administration's case for war, as articulated by the likes of Scott McClellan. As I look back on my own reporting during the runup to the war, there are articles to which I can point with pride and others I would prefer to forget. But the bottom line is that we spent too much time, as McClellan says, "covering the march to war" rather than "the necessity of war."...

[H]ere at The Post, the media's failure went from top to bottom. Editors were reluctant to give front-page prominence to stories that challenged the administration's rationale.... [R]eporters (including myself) often failed to display sufficient skepticism....

I should make clear that I am not singling out The Post for special criticism. With a very few exceptions (the Washington bureau of Knight-Ridder comes to mind), the entire American media failed to aggressively challenge the administration's narrative.

I would like to think that the mainstream media is learning from its mistakes.... The traditional "he said, she said" style of reporting certainly has its place in American journalism. But we should not allow it to supersede an even more important journalistic goal, which is to determine the truth as best we can.

As a former operator of the White House "propaganda machine", Scott McClellan lacks credibility as a critic of the press. But on the question of whether the American press did its job properly during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is difficult to argue with his conclusions. We failed you.