Accuracy in Media

The Hartford Courant has drawn attention to an important State Department website, “Identifying Misinformation.” One of the more fascinating reports, examining Iraqi disinformation, is worth noting in light of Lynn Cheney’s recent confrontation with Wolf Blitzer of CNN, asking if he favored a U.S. military victory in Iraq. Under fire, Blitzer responded, “The answer of course is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about that.”

But CNN, in airing terrorist video of American soldiers being killed in Iraq, has a strange way of showing it.

Back in 1991, during the first Gulf War, it did not appear that CNN wanted the U.S. to win, either.

One State Department report, “Apparatus of Lies. Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003,” looked at what happened on the ground during the first Gulf War, on January 21, 1991, when U.S. and allied bombers hit what the Iraqis claimed was a “baby milk factory” in Baghdad.

A hand-lettered sign in English and Arabic, saying, “Baby Milk Plant,” was in front of the facility.

The report notes, “The United States insisted that Iraq was using it as a biological-weapons development site. It appears the facility had briefly functioned as a ‘baby milk’ factory in 1979 and 1980, and then again in the spring and summer of 1990, before the Iraqi regime began to use it as a biological weapons site. As U.S. officials pointed out at the time, the Iraqi regime was defending the site as it would a military facility. After the Gulf War, UNSCOM inspectors discovered that three scientists from the Iraqi regime’s main biological weapons facility had been assigned to the ‘baby milk’ factory.”

One of the reporters giving credence to the claim that the facility was for manufacturing baby milk was Peter Arnett of CNN. He would later surface, of course, as a correspondent for MSNBC when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. He would even appear on Saddam Hussein’s television channel, ridiculing the U.S. war effort.

On October 23, in regard to the terrorist sniper video, Rep. Duncan Hunter asked Blitzer: “I think the question I asked when I saw this, Wolf, is, does CNN want America to win this thing?”

Hunter added, “And, if I was a platoon leader there, as I once was, and I had a-and I had a news organization which had shown, had-had taken film from the enemy, showing them killing one of my soldiers, and they asked if they could be embedded in my platoon, my answer would be no.

“I go back to the-to the-the days of guys like Joe Rosenthal, who filmed the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, and Ernie Pyle, who was a soldier’s reporter, the guys who were on our side-even though they reported the rough and the tough of the war, they were on our side.

“You can’t be on both sides. And I would say, if I was that platoon leader, I would say, absolutely not. Take CNN out of there. You can’t be on both sides.”

The airing of the sniper video by CNN shows that the spirit of “Baghdad Pete” survives at the network.

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