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My midwest upbringing implores me to point out that as bad as Powell's misinformation on WMDs was at least he was able to admit to the public that he was wrong. I appreciated that and wish we could see more of it from our leaders.

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Yes, he was among the few (altho he blamed others for giving him bad Intel)

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Amen

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Don't get me started on the hate I have for Fred Hiatt at the Post.

Blood is on his hands that he will never wash off...including the blood of my son he and his Presstitute pals convinced to go to war.

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Like all of us, Powell was a flawed person. I give him credit for admitting he was wrong (usually by passively saying he was given bad intelligence), but I also subtract points because Powell never apologized for it.

I have no idea of the total number of people killed/wounded/displaced during the Infinity War, but I know it is very large and they would be alive/intact/home if he had not been a Bush team cheerleader.

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agreed. and my point here is the press and how it lost all connection w/ reality during final weeks of run-up to the war

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Thanks, I lost track of the original point: The press did us no favors in the lead-up to the war and again no favors now by omitting the context.

And I should note, the press still has not apologized, they’ve rationalized their cheerleading.

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It's not just the fact that people are reporting on Powell, both by treating his death as proof that COVID vaccines don't work or by cheerfully eliding past his problems with honesty, or overemphasizing his "remorse" about the UN speech; treating him like he was the same as Robert McNamara, when he wasn't. It's just the way corporate media has continually abdicated their responsibilities.

We wouldn't be in the situation we are in regarding vaccines if the media had treated anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy as the buffoons they truly are, and made clear over and over again that vaccines do not cause autism. Or if they'd battered Big Oil for their tactics and held them to account for their work to contribute to the climate crisis; if they'd gone after companies like Purdue Pharma and the crimes they committed in order to sell OxyContin to the populace, we wouldn't have the opioid crisis.

So many people and organizations need to fall, their heads need to roll. And yet, outrage and scorn is only given to people like Katie Couric, even though her position on the Today Show meant she was a mere entertainment talking head, not a journalist. She was always someone of calculated charm and presence, but not substance, not even remotely to be considered a journalist. And figures like her biggest rival Diane Sawyer weren't much better, especially in terms of her fondness for focusing solely on doing "gotcha" interviews and a condescending attitude. Look at her interview of Britney Spears in 2003, her interview of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley in 1995, or both of her interviews of Mel Gibson, in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Meanwhile, people with a claim to be actual journalists like Brian Ross end up suspended over claims that their Trump stories are "inaccurate", when we know they aren't, and that organizations and people were just kowtowing to Trump and his bullying.

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Katie and her "Navy Seals Rock" nauseated me to no end...just like Tweety Matthews gushing all over Dumbya's little stunt with the plane with Gordon Liddy doubling down on the sock in a jockstrap hero worship...

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So you do agree Couric was never a journalist, and this brouhaha with her memoir and saying she "betrayed the public trust" is unwarranted?

And what do you think of Diane Sawyer?

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founding

Actually she did work for the ABC DC news bureau, an editor for CNN, then a Pentagon correspondent for NBC so she has done actual journalism before joining the Today Show. If my memory is correct NBC had a tendency to give a lot of them hard news interviews to the guys.

NBC’s official policy was to cheerlead the war. That is why they fired Phil Donahue even though he had had their highest-rated show. First they forced him to have two pro-war guests for every one who was a skeptic. They counted Donahue as a skeptic which meant he had to book three pro-war guest for every one guest who was opposed. You can bet the rest of the personnel at NBC knew what they were required to do and given that the august NY Times had assured them that Saddam had WMD I am sure they felt justified.

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The Corporate Controlled Conservative Press lied us into a war that killed my son.

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founding

I believe that a major problem with our political media is that they are desperate to have heroes. When they find a man they feel is strong, charming, manly, etc. they swoon over him and bury or ignore negative facts about their hero. If someone fails to awe them they feel free to tear him apart even for trivial things (like wearing earth tones). Being in the military is one sure fire way to get their respect, something I find particularly dangerous.

The media’s willingness to coverup for Powell was pervasive. When the Iran Contra Independent Counsel’s final report made it clear that Powell had lied under oath by denying his boss Weinberger had kept notes of that deeply unconstitutional conspiracy the media turned a blind eye. Even the fact that Powell sent a letter to the court overseeing the investigation complaining that the IC had “seen fit to impugn my honor” didn’t get reported.

When a network reporter prepared a report on that fact higher ups killed the story letting him know that “this was not serious enough a charge to justify taking a swing at Powell and causing him to be angry with the network”!! Lying under oath about about an extremely serious matter isn’t serous if the liar is Colin Powell but a guy from nowheresville Arkansas lying about a sexual dalliance is worth impeachment in our media land.

https://www.salon.com/2000/03/20/powell_3/

Powell was clearly willing to lie to protect his image. When Hillary said that Powell had advised her to avoid using the State Department email server Powell threw her under the bus, denying he had done any such thing. Unfortunately for Powell that was proved a lie when his emails were hacked showing he did give Hillary that advice — hardly the behavior of an honorable man.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/08/colin-powell-hillary-clinton-email-state-department

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Plus, the media tends to be very hesitant to walk back that praise or hero worship once circumstances change or it no longer fits the original narrative. The media does not like to be wrong. Look what the media is doing with Kyrsten Sinema, the media started the narratives that Sinema was hip, and cool, and would fight for progressive or liberal causes.

Now, we’re finding out how wrong that media hero worship of Sinema was but the media refuses to change the narrative. Poll numbers dropping, a lot of money coming in to primary Sinema, constituents vocally upset and calling out Sinema. Does that matter to the media, nope. Instead of changing the story, the media writes how none of that matters, Sinema is just independent and sassy. Polls numbers dropping to a very low rate, who cares about poll numbers, they are meaningless (unless you are Biden). Money to primary Sinema, doesn’t matter since 2024 is a long way away. The upset constituents that voted for Sinema, largely due to the stories put out by the media, well, they just don’t matter since she has support of independents and Republicans. Basically, the media made Sinema out to be this hero, and will not change the narrative regardless of the facts (silly constituents that voted for Sinema, you should have known better).

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The media still haven’t completely abandoned their fondness for Dubya but hold on to their disdain for Bill Clinton with a passion. I never hear any of them point out that the Clinton Foundation played a big role in getting affordable AIDS/HIV drugs to millions in Africa but several time I have heard Bush praised for his role. We see a lot of hand wringing about the debt but no mention of the fact that Clinton and the Dems not only balanced the budget, they had a surplus that they were using to pay down the debt the media is so worried about. Gore ran on continuing to do that; Bush explicitly advocated destroying the surplus with tax cuts. The media swooned over Bush because he would be “more fun to have a beer with” and they liked his faux macho posturing.

Bill Clinton’s one dalliance was enough to justify their already-existing disdain for him. In contrast they still put the wildly promiscuous JFK on a pedestal because they look up to men they see as cool and sophisticated.

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Amen.

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The Bush war cabal needed to put a trustworthy face on the neocon wet dream of conquering the Middle East, and Powell was the only one they had. Bush was too dumb to sell it on his own, Cheney was rightfully distrusted and so was Rumsfeld. Powell should have known he was being used - just as the NYT and WaPo were being used - to justify an illegal, immoral, invasion. Powell's political career was terminated, but the pompous, willingly deluded media cheerleaders continued to babble on.

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From what I have read Powell had to have known that some of his claims had no evidence. It is highly unlikely that he hadn’t read the reports about how Cheney was pressuring the CIA to give him the information he wanted to support his intention to invade Iraq. And he must have known that the “evidence” he was given came from the political people at CIA not the WMD experts. He also had to have known that Saddam would never have worked with his sworn enemy Bin Laden to attack us.

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People hate Hillary for her Iraq vote but war hawk Colin Powell gets a mulligan? Colin Powell *was* war. He pushed for it, lied for it and then pretended he was given bad intelligence about it. The collective need of seemingly everyone (not just the media) to glorify this man in death is strange.

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I heard the best summary of this issue from an interview with someone who greatly respected Powell on NPR, who said that he took the speech that Bush/Cheney wanted him to give, which he "suspected" of containing false information, and tried to scrub it clean so that the presentation he gave at the UN was reliable and responsible; but he failed.

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author

i think that's a very friendly interpretation, whoever gave that to NPR. Powell really had two choices: give the address or refuse. there was no middle ground, simply bc vast majority of the intel in the address was bogus. (i wouldn't be surprised if he eliminated the most outrageous elements, but that still left a lot of bad intel.)

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It was friendly, but also accurate. The question resolves to how much credit Powell gets for making the effort [to remove the false information] at all, given that it was a failed effort. I thought the fact that his friend (I said the source "greatly respected" him, but that was an understatement; he was on fact a personal friend, who almost came to tears while discussing Powell's extremely recent death mere hours before) admitted that Powell was unsuccessful at removing all the bad intel (which we now know would have left nothing more than a blank page) was both significant and impressive.

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Recall the story (probably sourced to Wilkerson) that upon being presented the speech, Powell read it and then threw the papers in the air and said, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit." I guess that is when the scrubbing began. Alternate history: a timely resignation and Powell might have been the first Black president.

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The Republicon Party would have utterly destroyed him, and still invaded Iraq, but he certainly should have tried.

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founding

At the time many people at the CIA were extremely skeptical of the claim that Saddam had helped Bin Laden attack us on 9-11 and that skepticism was reported in many media outlets. Yet Powell not only left that extremely sketchy claim in his speech, he repeatedly mentioned the name of the man to drive that accusation home. Al-Zarqarwi, who the Bushies accused of being the go between between Saddam and Bin Laden. There is no way Powell didn’t know that claim was very dubious.

This well-researched article gives more details about the lies Powell told.

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/06/lie-after-lie-what-colin-powell-knew-about-iraq-fifteen-years-ago-and-what-he-told-the-un/

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Whatever. That's completely irrelevant and unimportant in the context of what I've posted.

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Just for a little context: the role of the mainstream is to promote establishment propaganda, selling it as responsible reporting when it’s not. So no surprise about, say, WaPo’s support for invading although the volume, as it were, was somewhat special. Also special was the Times’ deference to Judy Miller. You had to be there…

As for Powell, dunno that there’s much good in his track record although, yes, Iraq was especially bad. Had he resigned over it, it may well have accomplished something. That he chose not to…

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author

Powell also gave lots of pundits political cover to support the war

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For sure. The chicken hawks, yes?

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Yeah like Mary McGrory...

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Legion.

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I learned the hard way last week on social media that I was only allowed to praise Powell.

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There is one thing that has been missing in all the coverage of Colin Powell's death, and that is this. While it is true enough that Powell's speech before the UN is what got us into the war in Iraq for good, it is equally true that he is the only person who could've stopped the invasion in the first place, and yet he chose not to. And as Lawrence Wilkerson has pointed out on many occasions since, Powell didn't just have his doubts about WMD in Iraq, he knew the claims that were being made were bullshit.

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I know all this. Powell was definitely duped by Rumsfeld and Cheney. I could be wrong of course but I doubt he knew he was lying in that speech. If that is true, I can see where he thought it was important to make the case that Sadam had WMD. This is not really a defense so much as a sad recognition that anyone can be played by the right people. I’m also sad that I had to read a statement by the orange Menace denigrating a man whom I believe was trying to do what he thought was right. He’s dead and that fool took time out to disparage him with cheap nasty immature words. I can’t take part in that.

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founding

Read this well-researched article. Powell had to have known some of what he was saying was wrong.

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/06/lie-after-lie-what-colin-powell-knew-about-iraq-fifteen-years-ago-and-what-he-told-the-un/

It’s not like Powell hadn’t lied before. He lied under oath to the Iran Contra investigation — under oath. The media refused to report that fact even though it was in the IC’s final report.

https://www.salon.com/2000/03/20/powell_3/

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Thanks for the info.

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I’m with you on this, Jane. I don’t think Powell knew he was lying either. I admired him in spite of the points many of you have made about his stances, actions re:the Iraq war. He backed Obama when it wasn’t popular with his R party, contributed lots of time to poor kids in NY where he grew up, spoke out for Muslims when Obama was being accused of being one, was appalling by FG and the January 6 insurrection, etc. Given the lack of character on display among most Rs these days, he stood above the rest, imho. A flawed leader perhaps, but a leader nonetheless.

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Everything in a life is more complicated than a single story, but I think the My Lai one is the start of a thread that leads pretty directly to Powell's WMD presentation at the UN. Not an evil guy, but a team player, in the worst sense of the term.

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Weeks after U.S. troops killed as many as 500 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai, Powell was tapped to investigate general allegations in a soldier’s letter that described rumors of fellow troops regularly engaging in atrocities. Powell probed the accusations and concluded that “although there may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs, this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the division.”

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-10-18/four-things-you-didnt-know-about-colin-powell

<<

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Framing rights should never have fallen to Spiro Agnew. Geesh what a pantload this whole 'liberal media' has proven to be. I'd like to limit the adjectives for journalism to good or bad, professional or yellow, etc.

Ray Benson carrying on like Bob Wills. Dogies!

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love Ray!

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We as American people can take some of the blame for how so called media has been given us the so called news. We now see them for what they truly are big business and wanting to be the story and the hero at the same time. We the people need to stand up to this hateful journalism everyday or we may become a country no one knows. We have to start calling a journalist or whatever news we are looking reading or listening when a lie is told call it what it is a LIE stop with colorful words a lie is a lie and the person telling it is a liar.

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One of the most disgraceful chapters in modern media history. Few outlets were against the war and media helped gin up poll numbers so that a whopping 75 percent of Americans believed Saddam had WMD before the invasion. These same papers buried stories by other reporters that contradicted the Bush Admin line, publishing them deep inside Section A. And who could forget their rapture over Rumsfeld, and his rock star treatment. They marveled over his “virility” and we’re charmed by his idiotic comments during those daily briefings even as he mocked them (“hennypenny the sky is falling”).

One of the most infuriating outcomes from that period is the progressives’ loathing for any Dem who voted for the war resolution, either forgetting or too young to remember the atmosphere and enormous pressure—the blatant threats that were used because of the resolution’s timing, on the eve of the midterm elections. Anyone, especially members of Congress, who questioned the admin was seen as a traitor—“you’re either with us or against us” and were warned by Press Sec Ari Fleischer that they “better watch what they say.” And to this day the most the media have done is shrug their figurative shoulders and say, oh maybe we weren’t skeptical or diligent enough—if even that.

That election also gives lie to the current media line that Dems will lose Congress in 22, because they keep saying historically the party in power “always” loses seats, conveniently forgetting that the GOP won majorities in both houses that Nov. Twenty years on and the media has only gotten worse.

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That resolution required that Bush exhaust all other avenues — i.e. thorough inspections — to make sure Saddam had no WMD. The resolution was supposed to be the stick that would ensure Saddam would keep cooperating with inspections. The UN inspectors said their search was going well but Bush refused to let them continue, accusing Saddam of refusing to cooperate.

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Hillary was pounded by the press during the campaign when she repeatedly tried to explain those caveats. Nuance and context reporting died a long time ago.

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Wasn’t just the press. Progressives across social media and in readers comments beat the neoliberal warmonger charge day after day, and many didn’t vote for her, choosing instead to stay home or vote for Jill Stein. Her share of the vote in Pa was more than enough for HEC to have won here.

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HRC.

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Also: remember that good reporting often holds power to account but when that becomes the mission statement things can go astray quickly.

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I think you and I are the cockeyed optimists on this thread 😋They can’t ALL be evil.

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