Extra! Update August 2003

    John Ashcroft Needs Help

    On June 19, Attorney General John Ashcroft told editors and media executives at an Aspen Institute conference that the government needs the media's help in "portraying accurately" the USA PATRIOT Act. The New York Times' Adam Clymer reported (6/20/03) that Ashcroft stressed that public distrust of the law, passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, was based on bad information. According to the Times, Ashcroft had a few suggestions; for one thing, media should emphasize that the Patriot Act "isn't something new, this isn't something different, this isn't some vast incursion into the freedoms of the American people." ...


    They Cannot Tell a Lie

    "Every government is run by liars, and nothing they say should be believed," legendary investigative journalist I.F. Stone once noted. That's advice that latter-day reporters might ponder as they twist themselves into knots trying to avoid saying that George W. Bush lied in his State of the Union address when he said that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"--a claim that the U.S. government had debunked in February 2002, almost a year before Bush's speech (New York Times, 7/6/03). Though warned by the CIA that the charge was bogus--the main ...