Conservative media echoed White House spin on Iraq; downplayed bleak intelligence estimate


The outlook for Iraq's future security and stability is bleak, according to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which was prepared for President George W. Bush by the Central Intelligence Agency's National Intelligence Council (NIC). As The New York Times reported on September 16, "[T]he pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday [September 15] by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made." Not surprisingly, conservative members of the media have been echoing Bush administration spin this week; in so doing, these conservative voices are denying the realities of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The NIE was prepared for Bush in late July by the NIC, a center of strategic thinking within the U.S. government that is under the director of central intelligence.

  • The Nation's David Corn: "By the day, the situation [in Iraq] is growing worse."

    The Washington Times' Tony Blankley: "No, it's not."

    [FOX News Channel, The Big Story with John Gibson, September 16]

  • The Washington Times news article headline: "Kerry dismisses progress in Iraq, talks of 'chaos'" [September 17]

  • The Wall Street Journal editorial: "The first thing to stress is that Iraq is not in 'chaos'"

    In this September 17 editorial, The Wall Street Journal editorial board purported to "sort out where we are in Iraq." Yet it downplayed the NIE and emphasized that a "crucial point is that the Shiite majority remains committed both to elections and to a pluralistic Iraq."

  • Nationally syndicated columnist and FOX News Channel host Oliver North: "From what I've seen firsthand, the [Senator John] Kerry-media spin of a bloody disaster for the United States in Iraq is as phony as Dan Rather's documents."

    In this September 17 nationally syndicated column, North attempted to counter several specific criticisms of the administration's conduct of the war in Iraq by offering personal accounts suggesting great strides are being made.

  • National Review editor Rich Lowry: "[T]he Iraqis aren't gonna give up even if the Democrats want them to."

    As a guest on FOX News Channel's DaySide with Linda Vester on September 17, Lowry said, "This is the main thing we have going in our favor in Iraq, and there are a lot of people in this country who wanna talk it down, say it's inevitably gonna be a failure when they don't have anything positive to offer themselves. But the, most of the Iraqis want a better country for themselves. They wanna see an election. That's why the president of Iraq says, 'We're gonna have that election in January.' That's why the most important religious leader in the south, among the Shiites, has said from day one, 'We have to have elections in this country.' So the Iraqis aren't gonna give up even if the Democrats want them to."

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