The Financial Times is reporting that al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the September 11, 2001, tragedy, is now confirmed to be operating in Iran. The story, written by journalist Stephen Fidler in London, quotes only one unnamed source directly; the rest of the story is the writer’s invention.
The whole thing sounds suspiciously like the news media stories about WMDs in Iraq during the Clinton-Lewinsky cover-up right through 9-11, who then shifted blame for the assumption to President Bush when it became convenient for the liberal media to do so.
I don’t know if the Financial Times report is correct or not, or if they’re all just in drug rehab this week. But I can guarantee you if Bush were to cite such a spurious, suspect report as a justification for war in Iran, somehow the blame would be shifted to “bad intelligence” and “bad leadership in the White House” rather than even a hint of “bad journalism.”
I would have suspected Fidler would at least know the one cardinal law of journalism: always use at least two reliable, quoted sourced in any news story. (Opinion pieces are a different matter altogether, but this is not a Fidler op-ed. It’s a “hard news” story.
If we ever get to a point where war in Iran is the necessary course, we don’t need suspect stories by trap-setting journalists to justify it. Frankly, for my money, Ahmadinijad’s constant threats to make Israel and the US disappear while rushing toward becoming a nuclear power against the direct mandate of the United Nations, is reason enough.