Sweating the Suspect

Friday, August 08, 2008


Biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins committed suicide last week after he was informed by the FBI that he would likely face charges in connection with the 2001 anthrax attacks. Salon's Glenn Greenwald believes, regardless of Ivins' guilt or innocence, media have failed to cover this story skeptically.

Comments [8]

John Walchak from Melbourne, FL

"But let's move on"? Yes, you *could* dedicate your whole interview to the ABC anthrax connection story. And why didn't you? It seems to me that, for a show called "On the Media," *this* is the really interesting aspect of the story: We have evidence that high-placed sources in the government fed ABC misinformation that, what a surprise, linked Iraq to the anthrax attacks, and ABC dutifully went and passed on this misinformation to the American public. ABC knows who fed them this misinformation but refuses to come clean about it -- perhaps because, as a friend of mine suggested, to pull this one thread any further would risk unraveling an entire tapestry of orchestrated deceit in which ABC and other prominent media organizations occupied a prominent place. (I know that y'all remember the "message force multipliers" story.) Or perhaps ABC merely wishes to avoid a well-deserved smack on its corporate nose. At any rate, it is astounding to me that an ostensibly *public radio* show called "On the Media" would have on Gleen Greenwald, one of the leading experts on the ABC anthrax story, but swerve off the ABC connection in favor of talking about old news: Steven Hatfill.

"On the Media," indeed. This behavior makes y'all look like a public radio version of Howard Kurtz. His "media criticism" routinely refuses to pull certain threads. He at least has a couple of big establishment gigs (WaPo + CNN) to lose if he starts unraveling tapestries. What's your excuse?

Aug. 14 2008 09:34 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

You know, I am so used to dismissing Brian Ross' reports as the showy sort of material fed him by operatives like his old colleague John Miller that it never occurred to me that anyone took his anthrax story seriously as part of the pretext for the Iraq invasion and occupation.

I have a bad habit of overestimating public skepticism of the media. At least they wised up about George and Charlie after that debate.

Aug. 13 2008 12:23 AM

This program "on the media" is a watch dog of the media which is a watch dog of the government. Accept for Amy Goodman and a few hosts on air america and a few others, the media has failed because is has board members in common business that make enough money to set US foreign and domestic policy, with lobbyists and PACs. Although this program did mention in passing that ABC news confirmed from 3 or 4 well connected independent sources the Anthrax used in the USPS mail terrorist attacks could only have come from Iran.
The timing of this event made it very important in the decision to attack Iraq and to find out now that ABC was front and center in this lie to the people is worthy of more of a story than the way that you covered it in this program.

You didn't go into how important it was in causing pubic acceptance of the war, which congressmen were targeted and why or follow this story back to its likely source. Are you going to? If not, are you going to explain to the listeners why this is uninteresting, irrelevant or off-limits?

Many of us are waiting.

Aug. 12 2008 03:24 AM
Don Jennings from Torrance, CA, USA

I think that Bob Garfield illustrated some of the problems with the current protocol of reporters while covering a controversial story. Here's the deal: It seemed that Garfield had some kind of point of view on the story because of the way he presented the interviews and the questions he asked different interviewees. For example, the questions asked of the man who represented the FBI point of view were more confrontive than other interviewees. That is not to say that hard questions shouldn't be asked; BUT what I would ask of a reporter is to consolidate the information and make an overall evaluation: is the case against Irvins in the same ball park as the awful balls ups the FBI did before? does the evidence look reasonable? what do independent prosecutors say? is there any other plausible suspect?

Isn't that what a reporter should do -- not just array dueling interviews?

Aug. 11 2008 08:45 PM
David Rowe from Lawrenceville, NJ

Good story. But I was hoping OTM would do a story on how the "established media" had to rely on The National Inquirer and blogs to break the John Edwards story.

Did the media establishment know about this and hold the story? This was a story for OTM when it was a republican:


Or worse, did they not even know it at all?

Aug. 11 2008 05:04 PM
Kammie P from Minnesota

ABC news should have revealed who lied to them about the phony "Iraqi connection" to the anthrax attacks. This was part of the drum-up for the Iraq fiasco. A source is someone who tells you something truthful or informative. A government source that plants a lie, that ABC news repeated like a parrot - is no longer covered by confidentiality.

But then, this is decrepit American media - the Washington Regimes get page one daily and the truth has a tenth of a chance 10 years later for 2 inches in the D section.

Aug. 11 2008 12:56 PM
Michael Kaelbling from Munich, Germany

The "concerted effort ... to depict [Ivins] as this unattractive personality" may backfire if the media starts pressing the question: how can someone with homicidal urges keep a clearance to handle bioweapons?

Aug. 10 2008 06:52 AM
Grodon Walters from Plano Il

Why am I not suprised to see that Glen "King of the Sockpuppets" Greenwald was your choice for this story.

Aug. 09 2008 09:28 AM

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