David Gergen has worked in the White House for several presidents including Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. He has also worked in the press as a frequently consulted pundit and analyst. As such he has experience obfuscating the truth from both sides of the media looking glass.
Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, he confessed to what many media critics and knowledgeable citizens already knew: The press failed to do their job in the stampede toward the invasion of Iraq. Even worse than that, they affirmatively promoted it.
“There was a sense, in the lead-up to the war, in which the press, I think, was guilty of cheerleading. We were waving the flags and it was almost unpatriotic to question the possibility of war with Iraq.”
That admission should be justification for terminating Gergen and everyone on his cheerleading squad. In a just world, the families of the fallen ought to be able to sue them for wrongful death. There is simply no professional excuse for the behavior Gergen is describing. It is never the media’s purpose to endorse policy. Their purpose is to investigate and report. Had they done that, there is a pretty good chance that we, and the people of Iraq, would not now be mired in the chaos and tragedy that the media’s negligence spawned. Gergen and his cohorts cannot plead ignorance because even he admits that they knew more than they let on:
“…we were too easy on the claims of weapons of mass destruction and the mushroom clouds being a reason to go to war.”
No kidding! And it wasn’t as if there wasn’t a clamoring for further investigation and deliberation. The American people, and people throughout the world, took to the streets in record setting numbers in a vain attempt to head off the hostile intentions of the Bush administration and their enablers in the press.
It is unconscionable that propagandists like Gergen can wreak havoc on the world, and when they discover the curtain has been pulled aside and they are revealed as frauds, they just go on TV again and discuss how the curtain came to be pulled aside.
There are consequences for failure on the level demonstrated here – sad, desperate, enduring consequences. Unfortunately, not for those responsible. Neither our leaders, nor their media co-conspirators will be held to account. But thousands of American families and tens of thousands more in Iraq will forever bear the scars from cuts delivered by Gergen’s Cheerleaders.