March 19, 2013
Ten years since Iraq invasion
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Dominguez stands guard next to a burning oil well at the Rumayla oil fields on March 27, 2003 in Rumayla, Iraq. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Every five years or so, around mid- to late March, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel should be media stars. They’re the two former Knight-Ridder reporters who bucked the U.S. media’s repetition of the Bush administration’s march-to-Iraq-war messaging. They published dissenting material, though their voices didn’t pierce the compliant noise from their peers.

In a report set to air tomorrow, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asks Landay: “How did it feel…to be the lone holdouts in this pursuit of truth and fact?”

Landay responds: “‘Lone holdout’ is a good word because even some of our newspapers—we work for a chain of 30 newspapers. Even some of our own newspapers wouldn’t print our own stories. Why? Because they say it wasn’t in the Washington Post. They hadn’t seen it in the New York Times, so how could we, as Knight-Ridder journalists, have gotten the same thing? So it was very lonely.”

And it still is. Despite all the anniversary attention to the media’s catastrophic failures vis-a-vis the Iraq war, Strobel tells Amanpour: “I have to say, ten years later, as it stands, we’re not exactly getting — except for your kind invitation, you know, other people are talking about this, and they’re not necessarily the people who got it right.”

More Landay, now with McClatchy (which bought Knight-Ridder), and Strobel, now with Reuters, in this 2007 PBS report.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.