Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New York Times, sarin and skepticism

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013   No comments

During the run-up to the Iraq War, the New York Times amplified erroneous official claims about weapons of mass destruction (FAIR Action Alert, 9/8/06). Looking at the paper's coverage of allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria, some of the same patterns are clear: an over-reliance on official sources and the downplaying of critical or skeptical analysis of the available intelligence.
In "Syria Faces New Claim on Chemical Arms" (4/19/13), the paper told readers that, according to anonymous diplomats, Britain and France had sent letters to the United Nations about "credible evidence" against Syria regarding chemical weapon use. On April 24, the Times reported that Israel had "evidence that the Syrian government repeatedly used chemical weapons last month."

The next day (4/25/13), the Times reported that, according to an unnamed "senior official," the White House "shares the suspicions of several of its allies that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons." The article spoke of the "mounting pressure to act against Syria," adding, "Some analysts say they worry that if the United States waits too long, it will embolden President Bashar al-Assad."
And then on April 26, under the headline "White House Says Syria Has Used Chemical Arms," the Times reported:

The White House, in a letter to Congressional leaders, said the nation's intelligence agencies assessed ''with varying degrees of confidence'' that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had used the chemical agent sarin on a small scale.

 The story included a source, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), who presented the intelligence as more definitive: She "said the agencies actually expressed more certainty about the use of these weapons than the White House indicated in its letter."

read more >>
  

Isr Ed

About Isr Ed

Islamic Societies Review Editors

Previous
Next Post
No comments:
Write comments

Most popular articles

All Referred Articles

_______________________________________________

Copyright © Islamic Societies Review. All rights reserved.