Paul Krugman of the New York Times nails it today in a column (unfortunately behind the Times’ pay-wall) lambasting the Washington political press corps for its utter blindness at the Republican presidential “debate” a few days ago. (I put debate in quotes because those events, with so many candidates, so little time and an electorate assumed to have a short attention span, are little more than press conferences.)
The assembled journalists missed a whopper of a lie by Mitt Romney, who claimed that the U.S. invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to let arms inspectors into the country. Quoting Krugman:
Except that Saddam did, in fact, allow inspectors in. Remember Hans Blix? When those inspectors failed to find nonexistent W.M.D., Mr. Bush ordered them out so that he could invade. Mr. Romney’s remark should have been the central story in news reports about Tuesday’s debate. But it wasn’t.
This is really staggering. A candidate who’s considered an actual contender for the nomination makes a blatant misrepresentation, and almost no one in the press corps seems to notice — or, if they noticed, care about letting the public know. (Update: Paul Begala, appearing on CNN that night, did get the point across, but it’s hard to find much newspaper coverage.
Folks, this is serious.
It is, indeed.