Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Lagniappe - How about a little Conservative Media Bias (and just plain old sloppy reporting). Julia Duin has a news report in The Washington Times discussing the remarks made by actor Tim Robbins and Win Without War National Director Tom Andrews at the National Press Club Luncheon on April 15. In this report, Duin - who incorrectly refers to Tom Andrews throughout the article as Tom Edwards - writes the following:

Mr. Edwards said his coalition wants to "bury the Bush doctrine" of preventive war, "which holds that the United States has the right to attack any country that it claims to be a potential threat — not an actual threat, not an imminent threat, but a potential threat."
What Andrews actually said was the following:
The mission of the Win Without War coalition is to defeat this administration’s policy of unilateral, preemptive war and its rejection of international cooperation, international law and the institutions that make the international rule of law possible. In short, we need to everything within our power to bury the Bush doctrine in Iraq.
Five paragraphs later, Andrews continues:
The US war against Iraq is in many ways a trial run to establish what this administration calls a “new norm” in international relations. This new norm is the doctrine of preventive war that the Administration announced explicitly in its National Security Strategy last fall and which it has expounded on since. It holds that the US has the right to attack any country that it claims to be a potential threat—not an actual threat, nor an imminent threatbut a potential threat. The new strategy stresses offensive military intervention, preemptive first strikes, and proactive counter proliferation measures against so-called rogue states and other enemies.
Now, one might quibble with me about this, but it seems to me that Duin's selective citation patchwork sanitizes Andrews' description and depiction of the Bush Doctrine - giving the false impression that Andrews agrees with the description of the Bush doctrine as one of "preventive war" - clearly a term preferred by Conservative Bush supporters. This is not how Andrews describes the doctrine, and Duin's report, I think, misrepresents this. Duin certainly misreports what the Win Without War coalition wants to "bury" in Iraq. A clear, though subtle case of Conservative bias in reporting.

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