Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Here's an irritating observation from Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which is responsible for

On the whole, analysts say Bush's use of distortion has been more audacious than Kerry's. But the Massachusetts senator has left much of the dirty work to outside advocacy groups whom Jamieson blames for one of the most serious attacks of the campaign.

"You've got to come back to the 527 ads that accused the president of lying to take us into war. It's probably the most serious charge you can make," she said, referring to the so-called "527" groups that work independently from the candidates.

"But I don't think you can warrant that inference from the available evidence," she said. "So I think that is a deceptive claim."

Now, if she'd said that you can't warrant that conclusion - using "conclusion" in a syllogistically strict logical sense - perhaps I'd very grudgingly concede the point. But the inference that Bush knowingly misled us is perfectly warranted, not only by the evidence relating to the war itself, but by a larger and perfectly consistent pattern of conscious deception that Jamieson and have acknowledged elsewhere.

Oddly enough, scarcely devotes any space to the administration's pronouncements on the Iraq War. But to the extent that it does, it leaves plenty of room for the inference that Bush lied us into Iraq. One article, entitled Even the 9-11 comissioners don't agree about whether their staff contradicted the Bush administration, specifically notes instances where Cheney or Bush linked Saddam Hussein with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, a relationship that has since been thoroughly debunked (without any acknowledgement from

All in all, addresses Bush's justifications for war head-on in only three articles, all of which are extremely cautious and tepid in their criticism. But perhaps most tellingly, the 527 ads which Jamieson considers "deceptive" (but does not mention by name) are not debunked anywhere on In other words, the site can't be bothered to address any of the ads that level what Jamieson correctly calls "the most serious charge you can make."


Anonymous said...

Yikes! Kathleen Hall-Jamieson was a professor of mine in the Ph.D. program at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. I'm really surprised - first, by her sloppy logic; and second, by her sneaky attempt to discredit the notion that Bush lied to the nation to take the country to war.

She always struck me as relatively progressive; perhaps, in her mind, she's being fair. Or maybe she spent a little too much time yammering with Walt Fisher, the crankiest son-of-a-bitch you'd ever have the displeasure to meet.

echidne said...

She might be suffering from the decade of bombardment from the extreme right wing. All sorts of journalists are bending over backwards to appear what the wingnuts would call unbiased. And this has made journalism really bad: we get the "she said-he said" crap and the mild comments "Others, however, doubt that the earth is flat", and so on. But we could have done better in defending the freedom of the press, I admit. For example, the wingnuts always trot out the numbers of journalists calling themselves liberals and point that these numbers are higher than those in the population, and vice versa for conservatives. We haven't really hammered home that what people call themselves is not the same as what they are and that many journalists are much more conservative than they might say in a study like that. Or that many more Americans are liberal than pick that label, due to the wingnut demagogery of the last ten years. Plus we might point out that it's the conservatives who own most of the media, and that the boss always decided what the output is, at the end.