Accuracy in Media

When “The Dark Side of Camelot” was published, the website noted that it “portrays John F. Kennedy as a Mafia-connected sex fiend who helped plot assassinations while frolicking naked in the White House pool with a succession of hookers and nubile concubines.  And that’s just the positive part!”  The author of the book was Seymour Hersh, now in the news for his stories about the Iraqi prisoners.  The media like the Iraq stories because they make a Republican president look bad.  JFK, by contrast, was one of their favorites.  The media covered up his scandals at the time and didn’t like Hersh devoting attention to them almost 40 years later.

When Clinton was in office, Hersh wrote about some political scandals, but they didn’t attract the kind of attention the Iraqi prisoner stories do.  For example, he wrote in the New Yorker magazine about the dubious rationale for the cruise missile strikes on a factory in Sudan.  It was believed that Clinton launched the attack to divert attention away from the story of his illicit relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Hersh wrote that four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and FBI Director Louis Freeh were not consulted before the attack was launched.  Hersh also reported that Attorney General Janet Reno had strong doubts about the administration’s case.  U.S. officials claimed the factory in Sudan destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles was involved in chemical-weapons production and was linked to terrorist Osama bin Laden.  The case was said to rest on a mysterious soil sample collected by a secret agent.

Former Clinton official Richard Clarke is still sticking to this story today.  Now, however, he is making the claim that the factory was linked to Iraq!  His new book justifies the 1998 attack by alleging al-Qaeda funding for the plant and claiming that a mysterious chemical precursor supposedly found in the soil near the factory was known to be used only by the Iraqis.  Clarke asked, “Could Sudan, using bin Laden’s money, have hired some Iraqis to make chemical weapons?”

Ironically, Clarke made the case for an Iraqi connection to al Qaeda?something now dismissed by many in the media.  The key point is that we didn’t see any reporters citing the Hersh story from several years ago in order to discredit Clarke’s new book.  Instead, Clarke became a hero.

For all of his investigative reporting prowess, Hersh was never associated with uncovering the really serious Clinton scandals, such as Oklahoma City, TWA 800 or the deaths of Clinton officials Vincent Foster and Ron Brown.  The names associated with digging into these scandals include Reed Irvine, Christopher Ruddy, Jayna Davis, and  Jack Cashill, author of the explosive new book, Ron Brown’s Body.  Any one of those scandals, if pursued by Hersh and others in the Big Media, might have brought down the Clinton presidency.  The re-emergence of Hersh as a media darling is itself evidence of liberal media bias.  One can’t blame him for basking in the publicity.  But the publicity should be understood as political in nature.  The media are out to get another Republican.

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