In today’s New York Times, reporter Michael Gordon uncritically reports that the increase in “attacks on American forces” is the result of “a lethal type of roadside bomb said to be supplied by Iran.” Gordon’s piece relies primarily on a single military source, fails to challenge the source’s information, and casually dismisses contrary opinions as the complaints of “some critics of Bush.”
In February and July, Gordon similarly promoted Bush administration charges with a “one-sided array of anonymous sources charging the Iranian government with providing a particularly deadly variety of roadside bomb to Shia militias in Iraq.” Gordon’s reports were disputed by high-profile officials including Gen. Peter Pace.
Gordon engaged in similar exaggerated misreporting in the lead-up to war with Iraq. Along with disgraced New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Gordon relied on anonymous sources to propagate the administration’s case for war in a series of front-page exclusives.
In September 2002, for instance, the duo reported:
Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb…Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes.
During a discussion about Bush’s escalation strategy on the Charlie Rose Show, Gordon disclosed his personal agenda, saying: “I think it’s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right.” He was rebuked by the public editor of the New York Times for stepping “over the line.”
Like the administration’s architects of the Iraq war, Gordon’s past failures have not prevented him playing a leading role in shaping U.S. national security issues.