Truth to Power

How the press can prevent another Iraq

Lessons we thought had been learned from Vietnam were forgotten in the rush to invade Iraq. And now, as we cover President Bush’s ratcheting up of the rhetoric against Iran, it’s looking like the lessons we should have learned from Iraq may not have been learned at all. So at the risk of stating the obvious, here are some thoughts about what those lessons were.

You Can’t Be Too Skeptical of Authority

Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.

Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.

Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines. The absence of supporting evidence for their assertion – or a preponderance of evidence that contradicts the assertion – may be more newsworthy than the assertion itself.

Continue with Dan Froomkin.

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