What Seems Like Fact is Probably Spin

by Dr. David Gruder

The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, non-advocacy, independent journalism organization whose purpose is to produce original investigative journalism about significant public issues to make institutional power more transparent and accountable.

The Center released a new report on Wednesday on their extensive research into the accuracy of statements President Bush and his team made in the runup to the Iraq War. It concludes that 935 false statements were made about Iraq by Bush and key members of his administration as part of their effort to garner support in the U.S. and abroad for their decision to invade Iraq.

Here are three key excerpts from their press release:

  1. 935 false statements by eight top administration officials that mentioned Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, or links to Al Qaeda, on at least 532 separate occasions. Officials making these false statements included President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleisher and Scott McClellan.
  2. Officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements.
  3. President Bush had the most false statements, at 260, about weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda in Iraq, followed by Secretary of State Powell with 254.

This is an extremely powerful example of how the Bush administration presented spin as though it was fact in order to  manipulate the public into supporting a decision that the public might otherwise not have supported.

The fact that leaders role model the acceptability of presenting spin as though it is fact, and the fact that the public cannot distinguish between fact and spin, is yet another example of how much the United States tolerates being out of integrity.

My book The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World proposes a comprehensive road map for ushering in a new era of integrity in our communities, our society and around the world. Like the Center for Public Integrity, this book is politically nonpartisan. It is not about only the United States and within the U.S. it is not about Democrats or Republicans. It is about all of us joining together to do something useful to reverse the lack of integrity that cuts across all aspects of our world. You can learn more about this book at www.TheNewIQ.com.

Even if you don’t read The New IQ, I encourage you to do what you can within your spheres of influence to help usher in a new era of integrity. I recently launched a resource to assist you with that: the Integrity Pledge website (www.IntegrityPledge.org).

I hope to establish an alliance with the Center for Public Integrity, so if you are in a position to help this happen, please backchannel me through the Contact Us page on my www.TheNewIQ.com website..

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