Blogger Dan Gillmor believes that “the U.S. mass media are finally waking up to this memo, almost two weeks after it appeared in the British press.” And he quotes CNN:

CNN [May 12]: Bush asked to explain UK war memo. Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said “intelligence and facts were being fixed” to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.


But that story is on CNN’s “International Edition” Web page. Just how much has CNN TV aired this story? Last week, noted Media Matters’ Jamison Foser, “CNN … aired only the briefest of passing references to the memo.” More below:
Well, I just blew an hour trying to search through the CNN transcripts, one by one (oh, the tedium), to see if CNN had mentioned the memo on the air in the past three to four days. Nada, best I could tell.


What I really want to know is how Media Matters hunts through all that offal every day to find its quotes.

But, back to the topic at hand. Dan Gillmor continues:

This request [from the 89 Democrats] will probably be ignored or dismissed as “old news” by the administration. But so what?


Who can possibly doubt anymore that the Bush administration decided to launch the Iraq war long, long before it made the official “decision” in 2003? This was obvious even before the war started.


So when the Democrats — whose spines remain missing in action — profess to be shocked, shocked by this memo, they’re either liars or fools. Or both.


(Speaking of feckless, the U.S. mass media are finally waking up to this memo, almost two weeks after it appeared in the British press. About time…)


Not from my search of CNN’s on-air transcripts, Dan. I admit I didn’t check every single one. But I did check every one of Aaron Brown’s transcripts for the last five days, and he hasn’t mentioned the UK memo once.


And neither has the Washington Post reported the memo as of May 9, according to Media Matters:

Readers complain, but Wash. Post ombudsman mum on lack of coverage of U.K.-Iraq memo

In his weekly column, Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler reported without comment that readers had criticized the newspaper for ignoring a leaked British memo on the Iraq war published in the British Sunday Times.


Getler’s failure to offer a judgment about the Post’s editorial decision is remarkable, not only because he regularly responds in his column to reader criticisms, but because of the explosive content of the memo. The memo indicates that Britain’s intelligence minister reported after a trip to the United States that President Bush had decided to go to war in Iraq in the summer of 2002, and “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around” the decision that had already been made. In contrast to the U.S. media, U.K. news outlets devoted considerable coverage to the memo, and its disclosure reportedly had a significant impact on the Labour Party’s loss of seats in the House of Commons.


Yet Getler simply reported that he had received reader complaints and moved on.


The Post referenced the memo only twice prior to Getler’s column: in the May 5 edition of Tina Brown’s syndicated column — which appeared in the paper’s Style section — and in a May 6 article recapping Blair’s re-election. …


The Post’s search engine is down so I can’t verify if the Post has reported on the memo since May 9.


I searched Google News moments ago, and found only a smattering of articles on the memo, mostly alternative publications, except for OregonLive (the Portland Oregonian‘s newspaper).


I searched the NYTimes:

FOREIGN DESK | April 29, 2005, Friday $

Blair, on Defensive, Releases a Secret Memo on Iraq War

By ALAN COWELL (NYT) 919 words


Nothing since April 29. I’d have to pay to view the 919-word article, which focuses on Blair, not Bush.


Dan Gillmor, a fine blogger, is correct that both the MSM media and the Democrats are feckless. I guess we just have to keep hammering away.


Any ideas for how we could construct a big hammer?

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