Bernstein: Willingness of Bush White House to Lie is unprecedented

News & Politics

Below, is the last question from an interview that didn't make it into Frontline's current series, News Wars -- Rory O'Connor writes more about the series here.

When the man who broke the Watergate scandal calls White House lying "something that I have never witnessed before on this scale," you listen...

But first, Juan Cole called bullshit from the start [VIDEO] and John Aravosis notes that CNN's Ed Henry caught Bush in a lie about Iran.

Last week's "anonymous" defense/intel briefing (emphasis added): "At issue was a weekend briefing in Baghdad at which three senior U.S. military officials said that the 'highest levels' of the Iranian government had ordered the smuggling into Iraq of high-tech roadside bombs that have been killing American soldiers."

This week, Bush lets slip that nobody knows if it came from the "highest levels" or not -- echoing what Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace said earlier this week: "We know the Quds Force is part of the Iranian government. I don't think we know who picked up the phone and said 'the Quds Force go do this,' we know it's a vital part of the Iranian government."

Of course, the White House now claims that some wild-eyed "briefer" is responsible for the bad intelligence, but you'd be a fool to think that this wasn't just a lie that didn't work...

And now back to Carl Bernstein's assessment of this administration's predilection for lying:

Finally, I just want to get your reflections on the [famously contentious] relationship of Richard Nixon and the press. ... How does that compare to George W. Bush and the press?

First, Nixon's relationship to the press was consistent with his relationship to many institutions and people. He saw himself as a victim. We now understand the psyche of Richard Nixon, that his was a self-destructive act and presidency.

I think what we're talking about with the Bush administration is a far different matter in which disinformation, misinformation and unwillingness to tell the truth -- a willingness to lie both in the Oval Office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the office of the vice president, the vice president himself -- is something that I have never...

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