Friday, February 01, 2008

WSJ: CBS 'Buried the Lead' in WMD Story

Glad someone else noticed.

The Wall Street Journal wonders why CBS' Sixty Minutes editors chose to obfuscate their own story by burying its most important revelation deep within the piece:
Journalists are taught never to "bury the lead." Yet it looks as if that's precisely what CBS's "60 Minutes" did in reporter Scott Pelley's fascinating interview Sunday with George Piro, the FBI agent who debriefed Saddam Hussein following his capture in December 2003.

The Lebanese-born Mr. Piro, one of only a handful of agents at the bureau who speaks Arabic, was able to wheedle information from Saddam over a matter of months through a combination of flattery and ego-deflation that worked wonders with the former despot. But as Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute first noticed, the most important news in the segment comes when Mr. Piro describes his conversations with Saddam about weapons of mass destruction. The FBI interrogator says that, while Saddam said he no longer had active WMD programs in 2003, the dictator admitted that he intended to resume those programs as soon as he possibly could.
Well, duh. You can't be a major player in the MSM if you trumpet stunningly exculpatory evidence for the Bush administration in a Presidential election year.

That's just basic American journalistic ethics.