the writer who's listed at the bottom of the article I linked to in the original post above as having edited the Iran piece, Warren Strobel, was one of the few journalists who got the Iraq wmd story right in the run-up to the war. Strobel, along with his co-writer Jonathan Landay of Knight-Ridder got several awards for their work while Judy Miller and the New York times screwed the story up
Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay
Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau didn’t take the White House propaganda campaign at face value either. In a September 6, 2002 story, “Lack of Hard Evidence of Iraqi Weapons Worries Top U.S. Officials,” the newspaper chain’s Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay reported, “Senior U.S. officials with access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American security and Middle East stability.” Throughout the run-up to the war, the Knight Ridder reporters filed story after story raising questions about Bush administration claims, with headlines like “Some in Bush Administration Have Misgivings About Iraq Policy” (10/8/02) and “Infighting Among U.S. Intelligence Agencies Fuels Dispute Over Iraq” (10/27/02).
Knight Ridder’s skeptical reporting stood apart from the more credulous coverage regularly put forth by most other mainstream outlets. When the New York Times reported on the aluminum tubes story, “U.S. Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts” (9/8/02), it emphasized the White House view that the tubes were hard evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program, and downplayed dissenting views. Knight Ridder published a very different piece, “CIA Report Reveals Analysts’ Split Over Extent of Iraqi Nuclear Threat” (10/4/02), recording strong dissent by prominent experts and portraying the tubes’ purpose as anything but a settled issue. Indeed, in the end, the dissenters were right.
Strobel and Landay received accolades for their tough reporting from some journalism establishment outlets. “Almost alone among national news organizations, Knight Ridder had decided to take a hard look at the administration’s justifications for war,” wrote Michael Massing in the New York Review of Books (2/26/04). Writing in the American Journalism Review (8–9/04), Steve Ritea commended the Knight Ridder reporters:
For about a year and a half, the pair had filed compelling stories on the issue and, on many occasions, it seemed like they were banging the drum alone. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when it became increasingly apparent Hussein had not been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, that other news outlets grew more critical of the administration.
But when it counted, Knight Ridder’s reporting too often went unnoticed—in part because more powerful media outlets were too timid or arrogant to attempt to build on Knight Ridder’s many scoops.