Gossip and a ruse

The blog world has been awash with commentary on the Washington Post’s recent attempts to defend their editorial decisions in the run up to the Iraq war. In the wake of print media’s critical take on blogging during the Democratic National Convention the opportunity to let loose at a bastion of the traditional press has been too much to resist for many who see blogging and traditional journalism in opposition. It is sad that such an opposition between two complementary mediums continues.

Perhaps the best critique of the Washington Post’s articles comes from the always-reliable Slacktivist. He provides a neat critique of the Post’s statements and the ludicrous understanding of ‘journalism’ they appear to hold, closing out with:

Downie thinks his job is only to repeat to us what others have said, not to try to find out whether or not it’s true. That’s not journalism. That’s gossip.

There was, however, one statement of which I’m not entirely convinced:

Kurtz doesn’t explore this aspect of the Post’s coverage of Powell’s speech, but it’s worth noting that while the American newspapers found his performance so utterly convincing, the speech was actually a failure. It was supposed to be convincing to the members of the Security Council, but they were decidedly unpersuaded.

This assertion reminded me of a niggling suspicion that arose while watching Colin Powell’s appearance before the Security Council. That speech was so transparently flawed (and Powell clearly realised it) that there was never any chance that it would convince the Security Council’s members.

Could it be that the objective of the speech was in fact to convince the American public and (perhaps more importantly) press that the US government did have clear evidence, that it was interested in multilateral support, and that it had acted in good conscience. A play on the UN stage? A ruse?


  1. I’m inclined to agree, given that the speech was made on February 5th, when tensions in the Security Council were at such a stage that was abundantly clear, as you say, that nobody in the Security Council was going to be won over by that speech.

    You’ll remember that many of Blair’s speeches around that time seemed to be directed at the camera – winning “the war of hearts and minds”, and these speeches just make up a huge web of driving the point home, keeping their views on the front pages…