Thursday, May 29, 2008

McClellan's Book: News to (Mostly) No One

Updated 6/4

Lost amidst the predictable firestorm surrounding the imminent release of former Press Secretary Scott McClellan's book is that despite the haranguing from the White House and its press surrogates, the book's central theme--that Bush shaded the truth on Iraq--is news to precisely no one who's paid attention the last five years.

The evidence that the fix was in is abundant to anyone who chooses to pay attention, both from the outside and those involved directly. The documentary evidence to that end is seemingly endless and abundant.

Notably, all of the attacks on McClellan thus far have failed to mention any specific erroneous fact from the book and instead center on the idea that anyone who goes against the family is a traitor, regardless of the veracity of the claims. Many of the objectors have even claimed an omniscient view of the publishing process:

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary: "And I think what did happen, Bill, was the book was pretty much done and set and Scott went back in, and I think his editor wrote a lot of it.”

How Fleischer would know such a thing is anyone's guess.

Newt Gingrich, former House speaker: “Here is this guy who want to sell books. He’s cut his ties to the administration and his publisher says, ‘Now look, you can spice it up a little bit.’”

Steve Doocy: “Apparently the publisher did some tweaking. How much? That’s a really good question.”

Doocy clearly doing his best to show his allies he's not about to jump ship and have an original thought, too.

Bill O'Reilly even finds a way to work in his nemesis, George Soros:

McClellan is in it for the bucks, keeping in mind his publisher also distributes books by George Soros and other far left people.

Bill would surely be just as vehemently against books published by Regnery, or, say, an entire news organization funded by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. You know, since he inhabits the no-spin zone.

All this moaning is anecdotal, however. The fact remains that the central point of the book and the attendant revelations are nothing of the sort. That the case for war was a PR campaign and based on a fixed result from the start shouldn't be news.


One of the main retorts to claims of media incompetence before the Iraq invasion is that the information available wasn't conducive to questioning the decision or the intelligence. The journalism team at McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder) dispels that notion outright by illustrating just a few of the articles they wrote before the war, thereby illustrating that information was available to journalists who still thought their job included investigating more than parroting.

Nukes & Spooks, May 29th

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