To see how liberal history is created, you need to tune into the nut-cable stations and watch their coverage of the Scooter Libby trial. On MSNBC they're covering the trial like it's the Normandy Invasion, starring Elvis Presley, as told by Joseph Goebbels.
MSNBC's "reportage" consists of endless repetition of arbitrary assertions, half-truths and thoroughly debunked canards. No one else cares about the trial -- except presumably Scooter Libby -- so the passionate left is allowed to invent a liberal fable without correction.
Night after night, it is blithely asserted on "Hardball" that Wilson's trip to Niger debunked the claim that Saddam Hussein had been seeking enriched uranium from Niger.
As David Shuster reported last week: "Wilson goes and finds out that the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger is not accurate."
There have been massive investigations into this particular claim of "Ambassador" Joe Wilson, both here and in Britain. Nearly three years ago, a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that this was not merely untrue, it was the opposite of the truth: Wilson's report actually bolstered the belief that Saddam was seeking uranium from Niger.
"The panel found," as The Washington Post reported on July 10, "that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts." So you can see how a seasoned newsman like David Shuster might come to the exact opposite conclusion and then repeat this false conclusion on TV every night.
Wilson's unwritten "report" to a few CIA agents supported the suspicion that Saddam was seeking enriched uranium from Niger because, according to Wilson, the former prime minister of Niger told him that in 1999 Saddam had sent a delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" with Niger. The only thing Niger has to trade is yellowcake. If Saddam was seeking to expand commercial relations with Niger, we can be fairly certain he wasn't trying to buy designer jeans, ready-to-assemble furniture or commemorative plates. He was seeking enriched uranium.
But Wilson simply accepted the assurances of the former prime minister of Niger that selling yellowcake to Saddam was the farthest thing from his mind. I give you my word as an African head of state.
Chris Matthews also repeatedly says that Bush's famous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address -- which liberals say was a LIE! a LIE! a despicable LIE! -- consisted of the claim that British intelligence said there was a "deal" for Saddam Hussein to buy enriched uranium from Niger.
Matthews huffily wonders aloud why Wilson's incorrect report didn't get into Bush's State of the Union address "rather than the president's claim of British intelligence that said there was a deal to buy uranium, which of course became one of the underpinnings of this administration's argument that we had to go to war with Iraq."
Considering how hysterical liberals were about Bush's "16 words," you'd think they'd have a vague recollection of what those words were and that they did not include the word "deal." What Bush said was: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Even if the British had been wrong, what Bush said was factually correct: In 2003, the British government believed that Saddam sought yellowcake from Niger. (Not "MSNBC factual," mind you. I mean "real factual.")
But in fact, the British were right and Wilson was wrong. By now, everyone believes Saddam was seeking yellowcake from Niger -- the CIA, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Lord Butler's report in Britain, even the French believe it.
But at MSNBC, it's not even an open question: That network alone has determined that Saddam Hussein was not trying to acquire enriched uranium from Niger. Actually one other person may still agree with MSNBC: a discredited, washed-up State Department hack who used his CIA flunky wife's petty influence to scrape up pity assignments. But even he won't say it on TV anymore.
Shuster excitedly reported: "We've already gotten testimony that, in fact, that Joe Wilson's trip to Niger was based on forgeries that were so obvious that they were forgeries that officials said it would have only taken a few days for anybody to realize they were forgeries."
This is so wrong it's not even wrong. It's not 180 degrees off the truth -- it's more like 3 times 8, carry the 2, 540 degrees from the truth. Shuster has twisted Wilson's original lie into some Frankenstein monster lie you'd need Ross Perot with a handful of flow charts to map out in full.
During Wilson's massive media tour, he began telling reporters that he knew Saddam was not seeking yellowcake from Niger because the documents allegedly proving a deal were obvious forgeries.
Again, thanks to endless investigations, we now know that Wilson was lying: He never saw the forged documents. (Not only that, but Bush's statement was not based on the forged documents because no one ever believed them.)
The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report notes that Wilson was asked how he "could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports." Indeed, the United States didn't even receive the "obviously forged" documents until eight months after Wilson's trip to Niger!
Wilson admitted to the committee that he had "misspoken" to reporters about having seen the forged documents. Similarly, Cain "misspoke" when God inquired as to the whereabouts of his dead brother, Abel.
But on "Hardball," the forged documents that no one in the U.S. government saw until eight months after Wilson's trip now form the very impetus for the trip. A perfectly plausible theory, provided you have a working time machine at your disposal.
If you wonder how it came to be generally acknowledged "fact," accepted by all men of good will, that Joe McCarthy was a monster, that Alger Hiss was innocent, that mankind is causing global warming and that we're losing the war in Iraq, try watching the rewriting of history nightly on MSNBC. Don't forget to bring your time machine.