Since the Iraq conflict began on March 20, Fox News has been on a mission to legitimize it. One problem for Fox's protracted apologia is that
despite promises of evidence of current weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) by the Bush Administration, the evidence has been ambiguous at best.
The following is a short chronicle of lies, propagation of lies, exaggerations, distortions, spin, and conjecture presented as fact. My comments are
in brackets [ ]s.
March 14: On The Fox Report anchor Shepard Smith reports that Saddam is planning to use flood water as a weapon by blowing up dams and causing severe
March 19: Fox anchor Shepard Smith reports that Iraqis are planning to detonate large stores of napalm buried deep below the earth to scorch
coalition forces. Fox Military Analyst Major Bob Bevelacqua states that coalition forces will drop a MOAB on Saddam's bunker [!!] and give him the
"Mother of All Sunburns."
March 23: The network begins 2 days of unequivocal assertions that a 100-acre facility discovered by coalition forces at An Najaf is a chemical
weapons plant. Much is made about the fact that it was booby trapped. A former UN weapons inspector interviewed on camera over the phone downplays
the WMD allegations and says that booby-trapping is common. His points are ignored as unequivocal charges of a chemical weapons facility are made on
Fox for yet another day (March 24). Only weeks later is it briefly conceded that the chemicals definitively detected at the facility were pesticides.
March 24: Oliver North reports that the staff at the French embassy in Baghdad are destroying documents. [How could he know this?]
March 24: Fox and Friends. Anchor Juliet Huddy asks Colonel David hunt why coalition forces don't "blow up" Al Jazeera TV.
March 28: Repeated assertions by Fox News anchors of a red ring around Baghdad in which Republican Guard forces were planning to use chemical weapons
on coalition forces. A Fox "Breaking News" flash reports that Iraqi soldiers were seen by coalition forces moving 55-gallon drums almost certainly
containing chemical agents.
April 7: Fox, echoing NPR, reports that U.S. forces near Baghdad have discovered a weapons cache of 20 medium-range missiles containing sarin and
mustard gas. Initial tests show that the deadly chemicals are not "trace elements."
April 9: The crowd around coalition troops toppling the Saddam statue in Baghdad looks strangely sparse despite the network's assertions to the
contrary. The perspective is always in close and even then there is no mob storming the statue to hit it with their shoes. Just a handful of people.
It's constantly asserted that there's a huge crowd. [I'm perplexed. Where's the huge crowd?!]
April 10: Fox "Breaking News" report of weapons-grade plutonium found at Al Tuwaitha. [In the coming weeks this "discovery" was expeditiously
shoved down the Memory Hole as well.]
April 10 (2:59 EDT): A report noting with surprise "how little" the Iraqis were celebrating the coalition invasion. [An interesting contradiction
of the allegations of widespread celebration just the day before with the toppling of the Saddam statue.]
April 10 (3 p.m. EDT: Reporter Rick Leventhal) Fox "Breaking News" report: A mobile bioweapons lab is found. Video of a tiny tan truck—about the
size of the smallest truck that U-Haul rents – which had its cargo bed and fuel tank shot up with bullets after a looter tried to drive it away.
Repeated assertions that this is most definitely a "bioweapons" lab. A graphic sequence is shown of a large Winnebago-type vehicle that is massive
compared to the tiny truck found. The irony of this escapes the Fox newscasters and defense "experts."
April 10: To show that France is in bed with Saddam Hussein, Fox begins running old footage of Saddam Hussein's September 1975 trip to Paris to meet
with Jacques Chirac and tour a nuclear power plant. [Because Fox strives so hard to be "Fair and Balanced," it's all the more curious how it fails
to inform its audience about another trip four years later, this one to Baghdad on December 19, 1983 made by Reagan envoy and then former secretary of
defense Donald Rumsfeld (see pic below). The network again, because it's so very "Fair and Balanced," also inexplicably forgot to tell its
audience about another trip by Rummy to Baghdad, this time on March 24, 1984, the very same day that a U.N. team found that Iraqi forces had used
mustard gas laced with a nerve agent on Iranian soldiers. Rummy obviously wasn't too concerned about the charges of gassing, as in 1986 when he was
considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination of 1988, he listed his restoration of diplomatic relations with WMD-using Iraq as one of
his proudest achievements.
April 7: Repeated ominous footage of barrels buried in a below-ground shed near Karbala. The implication is that the Iraqi landscape is replete with
these types of shelters, all of them brimming with evidence of chemical weapons. [These were revealed to be agricultural chemicals as well.]
April 13: Fox Graphic: "Bush: Syria Harboring Chemical Weapons."
April 15: Fox analyst Mansoor Ijaz claims that the top 55 Iraqi leaders (along with the whole stash of chemical and biological WMDs they have taken
with them) are now living it up in Latakia, Syria. [This is the same 55 that appeared on the deck of cards and is still being captured – far from all
living it up in Syria.] On The Fox Report anchor Shepard Smith completely breaks with any pretense of objectivity and openly mocks actor Tim Robbins
after playing an excerpt of Robbins' speech to the National Press Club. "Oh, that was so powerful!" Smith mocked. [Impressive objectivity there,
April 16: Fred Barnes on Special Report with Brit Hume blames the looting of the Iraqi National Museum on the museum staff. [Right now there are so
many claims and counterclaims about the looting it's hard to tell what happened. In a Fox segment on May 19 a coalition official asserted that
170,000 items were definitely not missing. Of course he refused to give a ballpark estimate of what was missing, which he'd surely have in order to
plausibly deny that the original estimate was wrong.]
April 18: Bill O'Reilly opens his show calling Iraqis "ungrateful."
There's more there if you want to read it.
[edit on 15-6-2004 by Colonel]