Michael R. Gordon is the chief military correspondent for the New York Times.
Gordon Does Iraq
With Judith Miller, Gordon wrote the discredited WMD stories, one of which, the Sept. 8, 2002, “aluminum tubes” story, was especially influential since it was used by the Bush Administration to sell its war against Iraq. In a mea culpa after the war, the New York Times blamed two of the Miller-Gordon articles for its overblown and misleaing coverage of Iraq.
After Colin Powell's misleading case for war at the UN, which according to Bob Woodward, was based on evidence the Secretary doubted himself, Gordon wrote: "it will be difficult for skeptics to argue that Washington's case against Iraq is based on groundless suspicions and not intelligence information."
Gordon Selling "Surge"
In late 2006, the consisten theme in Gordon's reports was the desirability of an escalation ("troop surge") in Iraq.
- On September 11, 2006, the Times ran a Gordon story under the headline, "Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid". Gordon cited a senior officer in Iraq saying more American troops were necessary to stabilize Anbar. A story on October 22 emphasized that "the sectarian violence [in Baghdad] would be far worse if not for the American efforts" There were of course plenty of Iraqis and some Americans Gordon could also have found, eager to say the exact opposite.
On two successive days in November, the New York Times gave Gordon its front page for selling the "surge". November 14: "Get Out Now? Not So Fast, Some Experts Say". November 15: "General Warns of Risks in Iraq if GIs Are Cut".On December 4, he tried to preempt the the Iraq Study Group report with another story: "Blurring Political Lines in the Military Debate". On December 7, he wrote another attack on the repot: "Will it Work on the Battlefield?"
Appearing on TV, he fully supported the escalation, saying "I think it's worth one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we've never really tried to win."
Gordon Does Iran
Gordon's campaign against Iran kicked off with a November 28 (2006) article, "Hezbollah Helps Iraq Shiite Army, U.S. Officials Say", which predictably quotes an unnamed "Senior American Intelligenci official" accusing Hezbollah, facilitated by Iran, of training Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army. On February 10, the New York Times again carried a front page story by Gordon; the title this time was "Deadliest Bomb in Iraq is Made by Iran, U.S. Says". While in its mea culpa the New York Times had faulted Gordon for citing "unidentified senior administration officials", it curiously puts Gordon's new story on the frontpage, despite the fact that all the sources cited in it, once again, remain unnamed.
Alexander Cockburn writes:
- What Gordon fails to mention is that over 90 per sent of the IEDs used against US troops in Iraq have been detonated by the Sunni insurgents , who of course are not supplied by Iran. More generally, the prime point of interest of the intelligence briefings given to Gordon and other journalists is the timing. At any point in the past couple of years the US could have gone public with roughly the same accusations.
The article was immediately followed up by another frontpage story, U.S. Says Arms Link Iranians To Iraqi Shiites.
Despite the widespread condemnation of the report, Gordon has not relented in his campaign against Iran. He first backtracked with two defensive articles, Why Accuse Iran of Meddling Now? U.S. Officials Explain and U.S. Says Raid in Iraq Supports Claim on Iran, but Doubts Persist (27 February), but returned to the 'deadly device' theme on 27 March with the report Behind U.S. Pressure on Iran, Long-Held Worry Over a Deadly Device in Iraq. On April 3 the New York Times carried his report, "U.S. Says Arms Made in Iran Were Seized In Afghanistan", followed on 3 July 2007 by another frontpage report co-authored with John Burns, entitled: "U.S. Says Iran Helped Iraqis Kill Five G.I.'s". This was followed by another one on 8 August 2007, entitled: "U.S. Says Iran-Supplied Bomb Is Killing More Troops in Iraq".
- Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (2006) (co-written with General Bernard E. Trainor)
- The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (1995)
- Gordon's New York Times page
- Greg Mitchell, Consider the Source: 'NYT' Reporter Targets Iran, Editor & Publisher, 3 July 2007
- Craig Unger & John McArthur, New York Times Trumpets Pentagon's Claims Over Iran Sending Bombs to Iraq, Democracy Now, February 13, 2007
- Greg Mitchell, 'NYT' Reporter Who Got Iraqi WMDs Wrong Now Highlights Iran Claims, Editor & Publisher, February 10, 2007
- Alexander Cockburn, Will They Nuke Iran?, Counterpunch, February 10, 2007
- Glen Greenwald, The NY Times returns to pre-Iraq-war "journalism", Salon, February 10, 2007
- Alexander Cockburn, The War and the New York Times, Counterpunch, January 6-7, 2007
- Amy Goodman interviews Michael Gordon, New York Times Chief Military Correspondent Michael Gordon Defends Pre-War Reporting on WMDs, Democracy Now, March 17, 2006
- Alexander Cockburn, New York Times:"Maybe We Did Screw Up...a Little", Counterpunch, May 28, 2004
- Amy Goodman and David Goodman, The Lies of Our Times, Counterpunch, May 27, 2004
- Alexander Cockburn, Judy Miller's War, Counterpunch, August 18, 2003
- The Editors, The Times and Iraq, New York Times, May 26, 2004
- U.S. Says Israeli Exercise Seemed Directed at Iran, by Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 20 June 2008.