Bert asks Dan Rather his Question, 9/25/08
Bert Sacks Asks Dan Rather a question on KUOW’s Weekday program, 9/25,08:
Bert Sacks: I’d like to ask Mr. Rather a question about a story that was first broken in a major way on CBS’ 60 Minutes. This was in 1996 when Madeleine Albright was asked famously if she thought the deaths of half a million children was “worth the price” – and she answered, Yes. My first question is, Do you remember that story, Mr. Rather?
Dan Rather: No I don’t. What was the context? Half a million children had been killed where?
Bert Sacks: In Iraq, because of the sanctions.
Dan Rather: Oh, during the mid-1990s. I don’t remember the piece, I don’t think I saw the piece.
Bert Sacks: My question is, Two years later UNICEF reported they had completed a study, and the study concluded that 500,000 children had … 500,000 children would be alive if things had continued the way they were in 1990, before we bombed all the electrical plants and turned the country into a place without ability to pump water and process sewage.
Friends of mine studied the transcripts of not just CBS but all three networks for the ninety days following and there was not a mention of this report of 500,000 children. Now my question is, The investigation didn’t require anyone to go anywhere, they just needed to get on the UNICEF website and read the report. And yet it was virtually ignored by not just the three major networks but by 48 of the 50 (top US) newspapers.
Are you familiar with the report? And secondly, how do you understand the fact that it received so little coverage when you … in my opinion … that massive number of deaths, which we would call genocide if they took place in Rwanda or other countries – is so not reported here – and yet is so relevant to the belief that we would be welcomed when we went into Iraq to, quote, liberate the country?
Dan Rather: Well, there is a lot in that, and I’m not sure that I can address very much of it. But let me be specific on two things: One, I do vaguely remember it, and only vaguely remember, that such a report or something similar to that was put out – I don’t remember the source of it – I do vaguely remember it. Two, how do I explain that it did not, in your judgment, get the attention that it deserved? Frankly, sir, and I appreciate your question, and I understand I think the thrust of the question, there are plenty of times when I have to say, I don’t know, and this is one of those times. I don’t know.