Dick Polman recounts how the New York Times allowed itself to get spun–again (or is that “still”?)–on behalf of the Great and Glorious Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq. In doing so, he takes again takes on the Myth that Will Not Die: the myth that big media is somehow “liberal.”
Follow the link for the full analysis; it’s worth the five minutes.
. . . on May 21 of this year, . . . The Times led page one with a story that trumpeted a leak from the Pentagon; apparently, the paper had purportedly learned that prisoners released from Guantanamo and transferred abroad were flocking back to terrorism in alarming numbers. According to the Times headline that day, “1 in 7 Detainees Rejoined Jihad,” or, as the first paragraph in the story put it, 1 in 7 released detainees “returned to terrorism or militant activity.”
That translated into a 14.3 percent recidivism rate,
And once again, the story was flat wrong.
This past weekend – more than two weeks after the print story ran – The Times finally took steps to clean up the mess. On Saturday, it ran a lengthy “editor’s note” which admitted that the “1 in 7” statistic was way off base. Actually, said The Times, it would have been far more accurate to report “that about one in 20 former Guantanamo prisoners described in the Pentagon report were now said to be engaging in terrorism.”
Well, that’s very different. One in 20 translates to a 5 percent recidivism rate – a far cry from 14.3 percent. (And as for that 5 percent figure, here’s a bit of perspective: According to the Justice Department’s own figures, the recidivism rate for American prisoners – as measured by the rate of rearrests within three years of release – is typically in excess of 60 percent.)
Afterthought: The New York Times is the true recidivist here, backsliding to its reflex to support Bushie wars.