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Iraq: Where were the journalists?

March 18th, 2013
06:09 PM ET

How could so many incorrect assertions in the lead up to the Iraq war have been taken as fact?

After the war, some of the United States’ leading newspapers were forced to apologize for getting it so wrong.

But two reporters consistently got it right: Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, former Knight Ridder reporters for the McClatchy newspapers.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour marking the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, they cited reporters’ access to top officials in Washington as one of the top problems. The top-level bureaucrats, they said, had more of a propensity to spin toward the line that the Bush Administration was pushing.

“Most of our reporting was with intelligence, military and diplomatic midlevel and lower level – the types that journalists don't really talk to or go after,” Warren Strobel told Amanpour.

In the video above you can watch the complete interview, reflecting on journalism in the lead up to the Iraq war. The journalists also explain why some of their own newspapers wouldn’t even print their stories.

Filed under:  Iraq • Journalism • Latest Episode
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Stoph

    Why don't you say it plainly; The invasion of Iraq was planned.... The history, the humanity ...will never forget that America and England destroyed one of the oldest nations in the history of humanity, Iraq. We won't forget that Bush and Blair and their allies invented a filthy lie to invade Irak, Weapons of mass destruction!!! They've retired now! But the blood and souls of the innocent children, women and men severely turtured and murdered shall never let them retire in peace!

    March 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
    • temraz75

      I am sorry stoph, history & humanity forgot that US & UK destoyed Iraq. Because the same is happening again in syria now.
      In 2003, when US lied that iraq was manufacturing WMD using the media, and now they are doing the same thing in syria, they are destroying syria. That is why we believe we forgot ...

      March 19, 2013 at 10:39 am | Reply
      • operation all-in

        yea let's not forget about Libya either.. . isn't it funny that every country that tries to steer away from the petrodollar has a "Arab spring"?!

        March 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  2. AS

    "The Iraq War was conceived by 25 neocon intellectuals – most of them Jewish" (Israeli newspaper Haaretz, April 2003).

    March 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • Reid Elattrache

      Why? As a distraction and cover for the real pressing issue for Israel, that of buying additional time to further entrench the Occupation of E. Jerusalem and West Bank. Without an antagonist to rally around Israel would be seen for what it has become – an Apartheid state hell bent on eliminating it's minorities.

      March 21, 2013 at 12:10 am | Reply
  3. steliannegrea

    But where was Christiana Amanpour?Don't bother to answear, there was only a rethorical question.

    March 19, 2013 at 12:58 am | Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Reporter Jean Heller :

    March 19, 2013 at 5:23 am | Reply
  5. BobbyD

    Yeah CNN, thanks for asking the right questions 10 YEARS TOO LATE.

    Just to get you up to speed, the journalists were either intimidated or fired. Any dissenting voice was laughed at. And all media outlets (yours included) actively took part in presenting misleading information. If you really, honestly, don't know the answer to your asinine question, then you either need to take an honest look at yourself and your illusions, or find another line of work.

    You have blood on your hands, CNN, and asking such questions now is just a cynical attempt at playing the fool.

    March 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Canada

      You're absolutely right. People have been saying it forever, and it needs to be said more on these forums. Fox news was obviously paid off, but CNN did it way sneakier. even pretending to be duped like the rest of ya's

      March 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  6. snycheck

    "Benghazi: Where Were the Journalists?" Now there's an article I'd like to read.

    March 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  7. Ronman

    This would have been the best decade remembrance of one of the biggest mistakes in world history if it wasn't for the fact that they left one bit of detail out... the millions of Iraqis and were killed and wounded as a result of this folly.

    March 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  8. Oldspeak

    Ditto most of BobbyD’s comment above. Now they’re doing it again, this time with regard to climate change. Where is the truly investigative digging to point out the considerable uncertainties that exist? Why after Steve McIntyre has deconstructed the Marcott “hockey stick” like he did with the Mannion stick does the media disappear the story after presenting it here on CNN as a new “proof” of unprecedented warming. Will you present the same “mea culpa” face after ten years and billions of dollars, or dig deeper than the “consensus”.

    March 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  9. woodman

    This interview only aired on CNN International. Why hasn't CNN Domestic included this must-watch interview as part of its10 year Iraq War anniversary coverage? Understand this people: Who else can we depend on if not journalists to speak truth to power? The World needs great reporters like Strobbel and Landay!

    March 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Reply
    • Chimera

      CNN International is a different beast from CNN US – When I travelled, it was surprising how much "fluffier" CNN US was compared to its international network, which has a much broader range and gravitas than the domestic version. CNN International competes with BBC and Al Jazeera overseas (and is not as good as it used to be at it) but CNN US only has to compete with true fluff such as CBS, NBC, and ABC and the polar extremes of FOX and MSNBC A foreigner in the US can feel very isolated from world events if he/she relies only on domestic US news services for information.

      March 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  10. Aphiri Tindo

    Since now the world knows the truth, these two murderers ( Bush and Blair) are they going to be charged with genocide? If not then now we know the bullies and weapons of mass destruction to human kind!!! May God punish them. Viva Saddam Hussein.

    March 20, 2013 at 6:59 am | Reply
    • Canada

      I want us to punish them before God does.

      March 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  11. Canada

    Amnesty Canada has asked our government in Canada to arrest Bush and Blair if they ever step foot on our countries soil. They have not come here since these very real threats were made against them.... to bad. I want to see them both in jail.

    March 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  12. Bsimpson

    Spot on coverage but too little way too late. The "perpetraitors" wasted lives, treasure and eviscerated the spirit of America to such an extent that we may never again regain our grace, moral standing and balance in this ever more violent world of ours. God bless America; heaven knows we need it.

    March 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  13. Robert Chan

    Dear Christiane Amanpour,
    I watched you interviewed Warren Stroebel & Jonathan Landay, the reporters who were right about absence of WMD.
    Colin Powell and Condelessa Rice were wrong.
    I remembered Christiane chided President Chirac for NOT joining or supporting USA/Britain in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
    Am I right? Please view the video or film again
    Thank you.

    March 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  14. Toppolina

    Great interview... just listen and no need to add anything... I salute you Christiane Amanpour for your great and courageous reporting and I salute the two honorable journalists for their honesty and integrity... This is definitely a MUST watch interview ... I posted it on my fb wall and e.mailed it to all my friends.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  15. Uwadiae,E. O.

    I watched the interview with those two "heroes of truthful journalism" and assert: "NOTHING CAN MURDER TRUTH." and it is only the "truth" that brings about genuine freedom. Kudos to those two journalist!

    March 25, 2013 at 8:17 am | Reply
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