Edited ABC Iraq Story Latest White House PR Fraud
Just days after revelations of fake FEMA press conferences and the altering of a CDC report to Congress, the Bush disinformation machine is at it again. As ThinkProgress reports, the White House redistributed to reporters an edited version of an ABC story in the hopes of painting a picture of unvarnished progress in Iraq. Apparently, deleting damaging references to the stillborn political process in Iraq is all in a day's work for a White House committed to helping President Bush "catapult the propaganda."
On Thursday night's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC reporter Jonathan Karl presented an even-handed assessment of the progress on the ground in Iraq. He noted:
"Charlie, nobody over here is anywhere near ready to declare victory. But the military statistics tell an unmistakable story. Violence in Iraq is down. And down considerably.
"Baghdad's marketplaces are slowly coming back to life, as violent attacks in Iraq have fallen to less than half of what they were a year ago. Until recently, the trends had been deadly and consistent, violence steadily increasing to an all-time high in June. Since then, however, attacks have fallen four straight months -- in every category."
But amplifying comments by the Brookings Institute's Michael O'Hanlon, Karl stressed the dismal political realities in Iraq and the complete lack of movement towards national reconciliation the "surge" was designed to advance:
O'HANLON: ...and it doesn't answer the questions about political progress.
KARL: In fact, there's been almost no political progress on the national level, and U.S. officials know military gains won't mean much if the Iraqi government doesn't get its act together, which is one reason the Pentagon doesn't even want to use the word "winning."
But the government officials, Congressional staffers, radio & television talk show hosts, journalists and foreign policy experts who receive the "White House Iraq Update" authored by the National Security Council and emailed by the White House never saw that assessment. Nor did they see Defense Secretary Robert Gates refusal to declare that the United States is winning in Iraq, instead saying "I think that those end up being loaded words." Ever eager to perpetuate the Potemkin facade that surrounds the Bush presidency, the White House simply excluded facts at odds with its manufactured reality.
Contacted by ABC News, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe promised to distribute a unedited version of the story and admitted that the administration's doctoring was "inappropriate."
Of course, just days earlier Bush press secretary Dana Perino said the White House did not "condone" the fake FEMA news conference. And Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff thundered, "I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government."
The most inappropriate, that is, until today. But for a Bush White House with almost evangelical zeal for altering public perceptions as a means of controlling political debate and reality itself, the doctored Iraq story was merely par for the course.
For more examples of George W. Bush's Potemkin presidency at work, visit here.