One week before the Adnan Hajj clone tool scandal broke in early August of 2006, which did for Reuters’ credibility as an objective non-biased new gathering organization what Dan Rather did to the Columbia Broadcasting System, Ace of Spades had a remarkably prescient blog post:
The American media is setting itself up for a massive scandal. One day, it will in fact come out that they are guilty of willful blindness and a deliberate avoidance of asking their stringers tough questions to maintain their own plausible deniability.
And they’ll have to answer some hard questions, such as, “If you’re so vigilant against being ‘used’ by the American government for its ‘propaganda,’ why are you so blithely nonchalant about being worse-used by America’s enemies?”
Many of Steven Glass’ colleagues looked back and wondered how they’d been fooled by his fabrications for so long. Apart from the outlandishness of some of his stories, he also had an uncanny knack for getting the Killer Quote that tied together a piece or summed it up in one pithy, bullet-point sentence. We should have known no one gets that lucky so consistently, they said later.
The American media seems to be an employing a possible Army of Steven Glasses [Like I said, prescient–Ed], and yet they’re more than willing to pretend they don’t know what’s going on so long as those suspiciously-dramatic front-page pictures keep coming back from the foreign stringers.
One year later, Richard Landes writes that not much has changed, in “Al-Dura and the ‘Public Secret’ of Middle East Journalism.”