ABC and the Anthrax Scare

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Nearly obscured in the coverage of presidential politics last week was the suicide death of Bruce E. Ivins, the government’s lead suspect in the anthrax attacks — and the fact that the source of the terror following 9/11 may indeed have come from a domestic source, and not Iraq, was not lost on several commentators. Glenn Greenwald of Slate calls ABC News to task for its reporting at the time that cited government sources who claimed that Iraq was likely behind the attacks.

Greenwald writes, “Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to
Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent — indispensably aided
by ABC News — to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
In my view, and I’ve written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade.”

Moreover, Greenwald notes, no tests on the anthrax ever found bentonite, which was crucial to linking Saddam Hussein’s regime to the anthrax. “The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened,” he writes.

McCain Pulls Back: Howard Kurtz notes that John McCain’s chumminess with the media has abated considerably over the summer. He writes, “The Arizona senator is having trouble making news, or at least news
that advances his campaign’s goals, and when he does it is often
reacting to the media hurricane that surrounds Barack Obama.

I”n 2000, when top news executives were clamoring for a chance to
ride the fabled bus, McCain would spend hours talking to reporters who
would write one story a day. “Now, with each bus trip, everyone’s
filing a blog report, every little thing is picked up and off it goes,”
says Slate correspondent John Dickerson. “It certainly takes him off

Really?: James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times writes: “So apparently the verdict is in: Barack Obama, too arrogant to govern.”

He mocks the analysis of the nominee-to-be’s apparent presumptuousness as a “multimedia stink bomb.”

“Opponents would like to put the Democrat in another can’t-win box over
his “failure” to visit wounded troops at a military hospital in
Germany. Obama canceled a visit to the Landstuhl hospital and was
accused of being self-centered.

“What if he had appeared at the hospital? David Kiley reported in
BusinessWeek magazine how a Republican operative described plans to
attack Obama for — that’s right — using wounded troops as campaign
props, if he had gone through with the visit.

“These red herrings, a veritable school of ’em, are amusing for those
who put them in perspective. But how many take the time to do that?”

Ludacris Lament: David Swerdlick of The tells Ludacris — and everyone else — to stay on message.

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