The American Conservative Union issued the following press release this afternoon:
ALEXANDRIA, VA — The New York Times front page story on Monday, repeated by CBS News, about issing explosives in Iraq was a total non-story dredged up in the last week of the campaign to influence the outcome of the election, American Conservative Union Executive Director Richard Lessner charged today.
“It has been clear for some time now that neither the Times nor CBS has much interest in reporting the facts,” Lessner said. “The Times‘ ballyhooed story about missing Iraqi explosives collapsed within 24 hours. Once again the Times and CBS have allowed their anti-Bush, pro-Kerry biases to influence their reporting.
“The facts are that the 380 tons of explosives missing from an ammunition dump in Iraq disappeared before the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, and they were gone by the time coalition forces searched the facility the very next day. NBC News was able to confirm these facts within 24 hours.
“Even after these facts became known, however, the Times struck with its erroneous story, repeating the bogus claims again this morning. Meanwhile, John Kerry spent the day trumpeting the Times‘ false accusations. It’s enough to make one wonder if the editors at the Times are on the Kerry for President payroll.
“Had the Times made the slightest effort to discover the facts, it would never had run with the story,” said Lessner, a former reporter and editorial page editor at the Arizona Times and The Union Leader of Manchester, NH.
“That the Times and CBS again failed miserably to report the facts suggests the two organizations are more interested in political dirty tricks than gathering legitimate news.”