Editor of the New York Times Jill Abramson claims her paper’s coverage on Israel and Iran is impartial and there’s no chance the “flawed” 2003 reporting over Iraq could happen again (via Politico):
Q: What are the concerns and considerations you take into account when covering the tensions between Israel and Iran, especially in light of some to the Times’s failures in the build-up to Iraq?
ABRAMSON: The key issue for us is, there’s murky intelligence on the current state of Iran’s nuclear program. There’s no dispute that they have one, the dispute is Iran saying that it’s for civilian use, and other intelligence saying that it could be for military use.
The debate, at least in Washington, is a little more limited than in 2003, because we’re talking about something that — either on the Israeli end or more broadly — would be a targeted military strike. It’s not the kind of debate we had in 2003 about a full-blown boots on the ground invasion.
In 2003, the Times had flawed coverage on the intelligence concerning WMD. I think a big factual difference is that at least the administration as it shapes its policy is not… actively promoting a policy to strike Iran. That’s a huge, fundamental difference.
But certainly I’m well aware that there are all kinds of parties, analysts, members of congress, people inside the administration — We just had a piece on some of the more hawkish voices back in 2003, and some of them are trying to have more influential voices, some of the same people.
It’s a highly politically charged issue. And it involves intelligence that is somewhat murky.
Q: How do you respond to critics on the right who say that, because of what happened in 2003, the Times is being overly cautious?
ABRAMSON: I think we are criticized by both of the most highly charged voices on this. There are also critics saying, there they go again.