Sanger: Journalists should challenge faulty intelligence

April 30, 2007

April 30, 2007 — At a brown-bag lunch sponsored by the Shorenstein Center and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, focused on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

Sanger recalled his early encounters with Bush, stating that “it did not strike me at the time that he had an agenda in place to remake the world.”

He followed this observation by accepting some culpability on behalf of journalists for not challenging the administration’s faulty intelligence and erroneous predictions about Iraq. “Where we failed journalistically — I know where we failed — [was not] understanding how much 9/11 changed the psyche of the president,” he said.

Moving forward, Sanger asserted that one of the biggest challenges for journalists will be providing intelligent, comprehensive coverage of Iran and Pakistan. Though news from these regions currently receives limited attention, Sanger warned that if left unchecked, these countries could make Afghanistan and Iraq “look like child’s play.”