Pundits Who Initially Backed the Iraq War Get Rewarded, ‘Radar’ Says

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By: E&P Staff

Pundits who were wrong on Iraq are rewarded, and those who were right are not. That’s the premise of a story today on Radar magazine’s Web site.

Jebediah Reed opens his piece by noting that conservative New York Times/New York Times News Service columnist David Brooks claimed a few years ago that America is a “meritocracy” that “assign(s) the most important jobs based on excellence.” But Brooks’ words don’t ring true, adds Reed, when one looks at the fate of pundits who commented about the Iraq War.

After discussing some who have apparently not lost standing despite their Iraq views, he turns to the pundits who correctly predicted that the Iraq War would be a disaster. One was Creators Syndicate columnist Robert Scheer, now based at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reed writes: “As a liberal columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Scheer argued relentlessly against the war, focusing on the dishonesty of the administration’s efforts to ‘frighten the American people into supporting’ it and seeking to bypass rational discussion and analysis by making Saddam into a cartoonish ‘super-villain’. … His work constituted perhaps the most full-throated anti-war voice on the editorial page of a major American newspaper.”

The result? “Fired from the Times in 2005, his column was handed over to the well-fed and well-connected pro-war conservative, Jonah Goldberg [of Tribune Media Services],” Reed says. “Scheer wrote afterwards, ‘The publisher Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.'”

Reed says three other pundits who weren’t rewarded for being correct about Iraq were William S. Lind, now a contributor to the “American Conservative” publication and several Web sites; former Marine Scott Ritter, who was a United Nations inspector in Iraq; and Jonathan Schell of “The Nation” magazine.

Radar Online quotes Schell as commenting: “There doesn’t seem to be a rush to find the people who were right about Iraq and install them in the mainstream media.”

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