Media Fails To Report Rumsfeld’s Misleading Claims From March 2003

Today’s media coverage of CIA veteran Ray McGovern’s tough questioning of Rumsfeld yesterday has surprisingly posed a great challenge to the media about how aggressively they would cover the episode.

To quickly recap yesterday’s events, McGovern asked Rumsfeld, “[W]hy did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary.” When Rumsfeld protested that he did not lie, McGovern presented the evidence, saying that Rumsfeld had claimed he knew where the WMD were. And McGovern was right:

RUMSFELD: We know where [the WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. [ABC This Week, 3/30/03]

While the media has been quick to cover McGovern’s accusation that Rumsfeld lied, many news accounts have failed to report Rumsfeld’s own words from March 2003. The lead AP story, written by Shannon McCaffrey, fails to make any mention of it. Versions of the AP story have been reported in today’s Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and many other papers.


Cox News Service also wrote a story that failed to report Rumsfeld’s own words. The Cox story was reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among other papers.

Fortunately, there have been a small number of news accounts that reported Rumsfeld’s statements, most notably the L A Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Are newsrooms across the country afraid of being perceived as anti-war “hecklers” and “hostile war critics” if they accurately report the administration’s false claims?