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Cheney takes on the New York Times 

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted June 21, 2004

The New York Times, the so-called "paper of record" that fired journalist Jason Blair for embellishing and lying, owes that young man an apology for singling him out and scapegoating him. In reality, Jason Blair was only carrying on the tradition of the Times, which has exhibited untold errors and rampant distortions throughout the years. Sure, Jason Blair, who reportedly suffered from drug, psychiatric and ethics difficulties, succumbed to fabricating some of his written pieces. But, to Blair's credit, at least he wasn't primarily driven by a Left-leaning bias.

Even the Bush administration has had quite enough of the Times' dangerous proclivity to mislead the public. Thankfully, there's a seachange underway and a willingness to challenge the abuses of the news establishment. The situation over at the New York Times is illustrative of the systemic problems plaguing today's media. We have a mainstream media, an elite media that is terribly liberal and arrogant, and willing to skew stories with abandon in order to advance its political agenda. To put a fine point on it, the spinning of fact passed-off as "news" by media elites can be directly attributed to their Left-leaning, conservative-bashing philosophy. How are Americans expected to fully participate in this great republic and exercise their civic duties -- chief among them the right to vote -- if they don't have reasonably accurate and unbiased information at hand?

That's why it's vital that our leadership continues to shed light on these pernicious circumstances. And things are only worsening as media elites are becoming increasingly audacious, throwing any semblance of objectivity to the wind. (As an aside, it's understandable that many fed-up Americans are seeking out alternative news sources on the Internet and talk radio.) The current media obfuscation of Saddam's terror ties is a significant example of journalism gone awry.

Here's what Vice President Dick Cheney had to say about the New York Times when recently interviewed by Gloria Borger of "Capital Report" on CNBC: "What the New York Times did today was outrageous. The press wants to run out and say there's a fundamental split here now between what the president said and what the commission said. Jim Thompson is a member of the commission who's since been on the air. I saw him with my own eyes. And there's no conflict. What they were addressing was whether or not they (the Iraqis) were involved in 9/11. And there they found no evidence to support that proposition. They did not address the broader question of a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida in other areas, in other ways... The Panel Finds No al-Qaida-Iraq Ties (Cheney citing the Times headline). That's what it says. That's the vaunted New York Times. I've watched a lot of the coverage on it and the fact of the matter is they don't make a distinction. They fuzz it up. Sometimes it's through ignorance. Sometimes it's malicious. But you'll take a statement that's geared specifically to say there's no connection in relation to the 9/11 attack(s) and then say, `Well, obviously there's no case here.' And then jump over to challenge the president's credibility or my credibility."

Frankly, the Vice President was unassailable, despite Borger's attempts to badger and contradict him. When Cheney is miffed, America listens. Dick Cheney is the quintessential no-nonsense "take charge" type of guy that talks the plain talk that Americans appreciate and respect. Cheney slapped the NYT around and made sure its considerable bias was known. Yeah, the Times tried to "fuzz it up" on the Saddam/al-Qaida link, but Cheney made the effort to clarify it for America. I imagine every Republican was rooting him on, but the liberals were clearly shocked that their shenanigans were roundly exposed. 

The media is correct in stating that there is no evidence directly linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks -- That's exactly what the 9/11 Commission has already disseminated as part of its findings. However, the widespread media assertions that Iraq never had any type of collaboration with al-Qaida, and that Iraq was never a significant state-sponsor of terrorism, are just flat-out wrong. In fact, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden maintained a series of high-level contacts that spanned years, which is not in dispute. And, according to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, a cooperative relationship existed between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida. There's been a plethora of intelligence that corroborates Bush administration statements on this issue, but with few exceptions, media elites give short-shrift to this information.

Therefore, kudos to journalist Stephen Hadley of USA Today, who wrote an excellent piece shedding light on the Iraq/al-Qaida controversy: "A 9/11 commission staff report is being cited to argue that the administration was wrong about there being suspicious ties and contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida. In fact, just the opposite is true. The staff report concludes that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan. Chairman Thomas Kean has confirmed: ‘There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there.'" Stephen Hadley also noted that: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his men trained and fought with al-Qaida for years. Zarqawi's network helped establish and operate an explosives and poisons facility in northeast Iraq. Zarqawi and nearly two-dozen al-Qaida associates were in Baghdad before the fall of Saddam's regime. In 2002, one al-Qaida associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was ‘good' and that Baghdad could be transited quickly."

Moreover, the mainstream media usually fails to acknowledge that Iraq was one of the State Department's designated "rogue states" for years precisely because it aided terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, the Kurdistan Worker's Party, the PLO, the Arab Liberation Front, al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad. And although the press might mention that Saddam Hussein harbored terrorist Abu Nidal, they rarely advise that Abu Nidal was the pointman in charge of Iraq's terrorist training camp at Salman Pak, just outside of Baghdad. The media elites are very reluctant to concede that Saddam was up to his eyeballs in terrorism. Why? Because it helps bolster President Bush's rationale for war in Iraq.

As noted, the Saddam Hussein/Osama bin Laden links are well documented -- a subject which has been considerably researched by journalist and author Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard in his new book The Connection. Clearly, the mainstream media should stop playing partisan games and report accurately on this matter. Make no mistake, Iraq and al-Qaida were integral team players in the Mid-East terror network. And it's an extensive network where the players (terror-sponsoring states and terror organizations) are thoroughly enmeshed.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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