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BUYING THE WAR: Biographies and Terms
Information on people and terms referred to in "Buying the War"


We apologize but due to your overwhelming response, Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel and The Moyers Blog staff were unable to log in to the live chat. We will post answers as soon as we are able. Thank you for joining us on air and keep tuned to the Moyers Blog for more from Landay and Strobel.

Peter Beinart: Beinart was editor of THE NEW REPUBLIC from 1999-2006 and now serves as the editor-at-large for the magazine. He also writes for the WASHINGTON POST, TIME and appears regularly on CNN, NPR and Air America. Beinart, a Rhodes Scholar, is a graduate of Yale University and received a Masters of Philosophy degree in International Relations from Oxford University. During the run up to the war, Beinart was a "liberal hawk," advocating for war on humanitarian grounds, but also arguing that Iraq's alleged nuclear arsenal posed a threat to the United States. Since the invasion, Beinart has reconsidered his position and in both THE NEW REPUBLIC and his book, THE GOOD FIGHT, WHY LIBERALS-AND ONLY LIBERALS CAN WIN THE WAR ON TERROR AND MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (2006), writing, "I was wrong on the facts. I could not imagine that Saddam Hussein, given his record had abandoned his nuclear program even as the evidence trickled out in the months before the war and I could not imagine that the Bush administration would so utterly fail to plan for the war's aftermath." Beinart's 2002 articles, "Small Talk" and "Backfire" are no longer available free online, however, THE NEW REPUBLIC has collected much of its Iraq reporting and recent articles by Peter Beinart are also online.

James Bamford: James Bamford spent three years in the Navy before attending law school in Boston on the G.I Bill. He spent nearly a decade as the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's WORLD NEWS TONIGHT with Peter Jennings where he won a number of journalism awards for his coverage national security issues. After leaving ABC, he wrote, BODY OF SECRETS: ANATOMY OF THE ULTRA-SECRET NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY. Currently, Bamford is a visiting professor at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, THE WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE, and the LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE. Before the war Bamford wrote three articles for USA TODAY suggesting that the intelligence case was weak. One, called "A Pretext For War," was the outline for the book, A PRETEXT FOR WAR: 9/11, IRAQ, AND THE ABUSE OF AMERICA'S INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, he wrote about the administration's manipulation of intelligence which came out after the invasion.

Eric Boehlert: Eric Boehlert is the author of LAPDOGS: HOW THE PRESS ROLLED OVER FOR BUSH. He worked for five years as a senior writer for, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a contributing editor for ROLLING STONE. Boehlert is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America and blogs for THE HUFFINGTON POST.


Read more from "Buying the War" Producer Kathleen Hughes' interview with Borjesson.

Gilbert Cranberg: Cranberg is the former editorial page editor for the DES MOINES REGISTER. He has been a vocal critic of the media's coverage of the Iraq War. Phil Donahue: The Emmy award winning talk show host began his career as a radio announcer at KWY radio in Cleveland, after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1957. He continued to work in radio taking turns as newscaster and eventually a radio talk show host until 1974 when he became the host of the PHIL DONAHUE SHOW, a nationally syndicated show for "women who think" which encouraged audience participation and thought provoking questions. From 1991-1994 he co-hosted the political weekly THIS WEEK WITH POZNER and DONAHUE and after over 20 years on the air, the PHIL DONAHUE SHOW was cancelled in 1996. In 2002 he returned to television as the host of DONAHUE on MSNBC. The show was cancelled in 2003. Donahue has won 10 Emmy awards including a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1996. Charles Hanley: This Pulitzer Prize winning reporter has been a roving journalist for the Associated Press International Desk in New York for the past two decades. Born in Brooklyn and a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, he joined the AP in 1968 in Albany, N.Y., where he later became a political correspondent and then bureau news editor. Hanley served as a U.S. Army journalist in South Carolina and Vietnam in 1969-70. Jim Hoagland: Hoagland joined THE WASHINGTON POST in 1966 as a metropolitan reporter and began writing his weekly column in 1986. He chronicled such stories as the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square, the lead-up to the first Gulf War as well as the war itself, and America's response to the 9/11 attacks. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. Walter Isaacson: Isaacson is the former CEO and Chairman of CNN. He served as managing editor of TIME and as the magazine's editor of new media, national editor and as a political correspondent. Isaacson is also the author of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: AN AMERICAN LIFE and KISSINGER: A BIOGRAPHY and is the co-author of THE WISE MEN: SIX FRIENDS AND THE WORLD THEY MADE (1986). He is a graduate of Harvard College and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. Isaacson is currently the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. THE KNIGHT RIDDER TEAM (Now McClatchy)

Reporters in the Washington Bureau for the Knight Ridder News Service were one of the few mainstream news operations that set out to test the case for war. (Read Landay and Strobel's answers to viewer questions on our blog.)

Knight Ridder, a media company that specialized in newspaper publishing, and owned 32 papers throughout the United States, until they were bought by The McClatchy Company in 2006. THE NEW YORK TIMES reported on the buyout and its aftermath in 2007. "Less than a year ago, Gary B. Pruitt, head of the McClatchy Company, was hailed as the white knight of newspapers. While others saw the industry headed for the dinosaur graveyard, Mr. Pruitt rode in to buy the Knight Ridder papers, or some of them anyway." But McClatchy, who was the only bidder for Knight Ridder, is facing financial pressures and joining the ranks of those shedding newspapers. In December 2007, McClatchy's head, Gary B. Pruitt sold THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, the biggest paper the chain for less than half of what he had paid for it. But even as THE BOSTON GLOBE, owned by The New York Times Company, and THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER and other papers have again made recent reductions in editorial staff, the Washington bureau of McClatchy is still intact and covering the story. Jonathan Landay: Landay is the senior national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, formerly Knight Ridder. He formerly worked as the national security correspondent for the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR from 1994-1999 and as the magazine's Balkans' correspondent from 1993-1994. From 1983-1993 Landay held positions at United Press International, working as the manager of their Belgrade bureau, manager of their New Delhi bureau, editor on their Foreign News Desk, and editor of their Asia headquarter in Hong Kong. He is the co-recipient of the 2005 National Headliners Award, the 2003 Raymond Clapper Memorial Award, the 2003 James K. Batten Excellence award and the 2002 Byron B. Harless Award. Landay is a graduate of Georgetown University.*

Warren Strobel: Strobel is the senior correspondent for foreign affairs for McClatchy newspapers, formerly Knight Ridder, having joined their Washington bureau in February 2001. He was a senior editor at U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT and from 1995-1998 the White House correspondent and chief diplomatic correspondent for THE WASHINGTON TIMES. From 1986-1989, Strobel was national security correspondent for TIME. He is also the author of the book LATE-BREAKING FOREIGN POLICY. Strobel is the co-winner of the 2004 Raymond Clapper Award, a National Headliner Award and a 2004 James K. Batten Excellence Award. Strobel holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.*

John Walcott: Walcott has been the Washington Bureau Chief for McClatchy Co., formerly Knight Ridder, since 2003. Prior to serving as bureau chief, he was Knight Ridder Washington Bureau's foreign editor and the bureau's news editor. Walcott also took turns as the chief diplomatic correspondent at NEWSWEEK magazine, national security correspondent at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and foreign editor and national editor of U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. Walcott is the co-author of BEST LAID PLANS: THE INSIDE STORY OF AMERICAS WAR AGAINST TERRORISM. His work has won numerous awards including the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting, the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence and the Freedom of the Press Award from the National Press Club. Walcott is a graduate of Williams College.* (Read a speech by John Walcott on our blog.)

*Courtesy of McClatchy

Howard Kurtz: Kurtz is the media reporter at THE WASHINGTON POST and the host of the CNN program RELIABLE SOURCES and has been a critic of the media's work during the lead up to the war.

Michael Massing: Michael Massing's articles have appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, THE NEW YORKER, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE NATION, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, THE NEW REPUBLIC, THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY, and ROLLING STONE. He is a contributing editor for the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW and a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and is the author of THE FIX, a study of US drug policy since the 1960s. Massing series of articles on the media's treatment of Iraq intelligence claims for THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS kicked off a national debate in the pages of the REVIEW and online. The essays were edited into a book called, "NOW THEY TELL US." Judith Miller: Miller is a journalist and a former reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES. Using Ahmad Chalabi as a source, and other defectors made available by him, Miller wrote a series of articles about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. For many, Judith Miller has come to embody everything that went wrong with the mainstream media's reporting during the march to war in Iraq. Some have called her the "poster girl" for the Washington press corps "bubble" reporting, reporting that relied on cozy relationships with officialdom and timidity about challenging a popular president. Miller herself, said in an interview for FRONTLINE, that she didn't feel that she had anything to apologize for with my WMD coverage. "I had done the best that I could at the time with the information that was available to me." Some media watchers say that it is dangerous to focus criticism on Miller, that the faults are much more widespread. In recent months Miller has gained another sort of media notoriety — she was jailed for 12 weeks for refusing to reveal her sources in the case over the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to the media. (PBS's FRONTLINE aired an investigation of "Plamegate" in early 2007.)

Miller's reports were foremost among THE NEW YORK TIMES found journalistically "problematic" and other critics have questioned her relationship with her sources. Learn more from the links below:

Walter Pincus: Pincus is a national security affairs journalist for THE WASHINGTON POST. Upon graduating from Yale University in 1954, Pincus had a brief stint as a copyboy for THE NEW YORK TIMES before being drafted into the army in 1955 where he served in the Counterintelligence Corp. After his discharge, he went on to work for a number of papers including the WALL STREET JOURNAL and the WASHINGTON STAR before joining THE WASHINGTON POST in 1966. In 1972, he became executive editor of THE NEW REPUBLIC. He returned to the national staff of THE WASHINGTON POST in 1975 and covered such stories as the Iran-contra affair and the intelligence community. Pincus is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, an Emmy award and a Polk award. During the year before the invasion of Iraq, Pincus wrote a number of important skeptical stories about the administration's case for war. After the start of the war, Pincus was the reporter who broke the story about former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's criticism of the mention in the 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons program. Pincus' and Barton Gellman's 2003 report brought the White House Iraq Group's role to public attention. Kenneth Pollack: Pollack is a writer and the director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. He was a strong advocate for the US invasion of Iraq. In 2004, Pollack wrote an article for THE ATLANTIC entitled "Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong," in which he questioned how he and other journalists "could have been so far off in our estimates of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs." Pollack is also the author of THE THREATENING STORM: THE CASE FOR INVADING IRAQ. Dan Rather: Former anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS, Rather began his journalism career while working at the Associated Press and United Press International. Upon graduation from Houston State College, he went to work at the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Rather became a reporter for KTRK-TV Houston in 1959 and then news director of KHOU-TV in 1961. In 1964 he joined the CBS National News desk where he covered the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Watergate Scandal, and in 1975, he joined 60 MINUTES. Rather replaced Walter Cronkite in 1981 as the anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS where he remained until 2005. During this period, he also served as host for 48 HOURS and as a contributor of 60 MINUTES II. Rather is the recipient of numerous Emmy awards and a Peabody Award. Most recently, Rather has hosted and produced "Dan Rather Reports" for HDNet.

Rather ended his tenure at CBS under a cloud of controversy over a story about President Bush's National Guard service which was later proved to be based on forged documents. The incident, commonly known as Memogate, brought the power of bloggers into stark relief - bloggers were the first to question the evidence, and the motive behind the report. Rather, who had long been criticized as "too liberal" was always under great scrutiny and some Conservatives use the incident to prove their case. Some blog pundits on the left voice suspicions that Rather and 60 MINUTES II were "set up" with fake documents to engineer such a fall. The independent investigation into the story launched by CBS found that the rush to air the story was responsible for the erroneous report.

Tim Russert: Russert is the managing editor and host of NBC's MEET THE PRESS, the vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC News, the anchor for The TIM RUSSERT SHOW on CNBC and a contributing anchor for MSNBC. Before joining NBC in 1984, he was a counselor for New York Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1977 he became chief of staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He graduated from John Carroll University and attended law school at Cleveland State University. Russert is also the bestselling author of BIG RUSS AND ME and WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS. In addition to numerous honorary doctorates, Russert has received many awards including an Emmy Award, the Joan S. Barone Award, and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television Journalism. William Safire: Once a speech writer for President Nixon and Vice-President Agnew, Safire was a political columnist at THE NEW YORK TIMES from 1973 until 2005. During the months before the invasion, Safire wrote dozens of opinion pieces favoring the war and was one of the most vocal proponents of the story that 9/11 hijackers had met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague, even after the CIA itself had disputed the validity of "The Prague Connection." Safire now writes a column on language for THE TIMES.

Bob Simon: Simon is a CBS News correspondent and currently the chief senior correspondent for 60 MINUTES. Simon began his CBS career in 1967 in New York and went on to work in a number of foreign desks including the CBS News bureau desks in London, Saigon and Tel Aviv. He was named CBS News Chief Middle Eastern correspondent in 1987. Simon became news himself when he and his team were taken prisoner during the Gulf War for forty days in 1991. His book FORTY DAYS is his account of this period. Simon has won a number of Emmy awards for his international reporting including for his coverage of the Vietnam War, Cambodia and China and received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2003. Before working at CBS News, he worked as an American Foreign Service officer and was a Fulbright Scholar.

Norman Solomon: Norman Solomon has been writing his nationally syndicated column on media and politics, "Media Beat," since 1992. He founded and is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His op-ed pieces have been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, THE BOSTON GLOBE, and others. Solomon is the author of WAR MADE EASY, a book that explores how the American mainstream media historically has been manipulated by governments determined to go to war, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. George Will: Will is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author who writes for NEWSWEEK, THE WASHINGTON POST, and appears regularly on ABC's THIS WEEK. ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHIES

David Albright: David Albright is a physicist and is President of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington DC. iIn his position as a former Iraqi weapons inspector and director of ISIS, he was a source for many in the media during the run up to Iraq, including Joby Warrick "Evidence on Iraq Challenged; Experts Question if Tubes Were Meant for Weapons Program," THE WASHINGTON POST, September 19, 2002 and Bob Simon at CBS's 60 MINUTES. Read more from "Buying the War" Producer Kathleen Hughes' interview with Albright.

Hans Blix: Blix was the chief UN weapons inspector in charge of investigating Iraq's nuclear weapons capabilities in 2002 and 2003. Ahmad Chalabi: Chalabi is the former leader of the Iraqi National Congress. After the ousting of Hussein, Chalabi was interim oil and then deputy prime minister from May 2005 until May 2006. Chalabi was not returned to parliament in the December 2005 elections. He provided questionable evidence regarding Iraq's weapons capability, which was in turn used by the Bush administration used in making the case for war with Iraq. Jane Mayer wrote several extensive articles on Chalabi for THE NEW YORKER, and THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW published an extensive analysis of his relationship with the press in 2004. Mohamed ElBaradei: Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization that is part of the United Nations system. He was reappointed to this position for a third term in September 2005. Ari Fleischer: Fleischer served as the White House Press Secretary from January 2001 to July 2003. Richard Perle: Perle, a self-proclaimed neoconservative, is the senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and a former chairman of the Defense Policy Board (2001-2003). He has been a strong supporter of Bush's foreign policy, frequently appearing on talk shows and penning op-ed pieces in support of the Iraq War. Shortly before the war Walter Pincus reported on Perle's business dealings with military contractors which appeared to constitute a conflict of interest given Perle's position on The Defense Policy Board. In the ensuing media storm he was forced to step down.
  • "Perle Resigns as Pentagon Panel Chairman; Facing Conflict-of-Interest Questions, Adviser Says He Doesn't Want to Be a Distraction," Walter Pincus and Christopher Lee, THE WASHINGTON POST, March 28, 2003
Scott Ritter: Scott Ritter was the UN's top weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998, when he resigned claiming President Clinton was too easy on Saddam. Ritter is an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. Ritter is also critical of the role the media played in the days before the invasion. You can hear more from his interview with Producer Kathleen Hughes. General Eric Shinseki: General Shinseki served as the Chief of Staff of the US Army from 1999-2003. Shinseki received criticism for the large estimate of troops he claimed would be needed for the occupation of Iraq in February 2003, before the invasion. James Woolsey: Woolsey is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1993-1995). He was one of the most visible proponents of the invasion of Iraq. TERMS:

Iraqi National Congress: The INC is an Iraqi opposition organization, formed by groups which called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Formally established in 1992, the group has received funding from the United States government and made several unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the regime prior to the US invasion.

Neo-Conservatism: Neo-conservatism is a political movement that started in the 1970s when a number of liberals and socialists became disenchanted with the liberalism of the previous decade and moved towards the right. In general, neo-conservatives are defined by their advocacy of an aggressive foreign policy, including their strong support of the Iraq War and the democratization of the Middle East and the rest of the world. National Intelligence Estimate: The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is a written analysis of a national security issue composed by top members of the US intelligence community. According to the Department of Defense, the NIE is a "strategic estimate of the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action of foreign nations produced at the national level as a composite of the views of the intelligence community." White House Iraq Group (a/k/a the White House Information Group): This group was formed in August 2002 by Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff, to promote the Bush administration's Iraq agenda to the American people. It was made up of senior Bush officials including Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice and L. Lewis Libby.

Published on April 25, 2007

Also This Week:

Explore the media coverage surrounding the case for war in Iraq with our interactive timeline of video, headlines and documents

Explore the some of the media coverage surrounding the case for war in Iraq with our headline slideshow

Review the press coverage by paper and network

Find out more about the press, politics and Iraq from former weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Albright and media scholar Kristina Borjesson.

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