First he found WMDs in Iraq– now Jeffrey Goldberg finds ‘Jihadists did this in Norway’

This is funny. Flapola nails Jeffrey Goldberg, and then Goldberg amends his post w/o saying as much, and then… well, it’s too complicated for me, but apparently Glenn Greenwald is after Goldberg, and some folks are going after Jim Fallows for assailing Jennifer Rubin for the same thing– wrongly blaming Norway on Muslims without any evidence– and not going after his colleague Goldberg. (Bear in mind, Goldberg’s bad reports from Kurdistan in the New Yorker, suggesting that Saddam was getting WMDs, helped paved the way to the Iraq war)… Flapola:

On Friday July 22, Jeffrey Goldberg posted “Mumbai Comes to Norway”. The link is to a cache of the original version of the post. The text reads:

“I’m following news of the Norway attacks like the rest of you, and am curious to see, among other things, Norway’s response. I hope it is not to pull troops out of Afghanistan; this would only breed more attacks. So, why Norway? It doesn’t seem likely, on the surface. There are many countries with more troops in Afghanistan than Norway; and there are several countries whose newspapers have printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. My first reaction is two-fold: 1) Jihadists did this in Norway because they could. Norway is pretty well-known among homeland-security types for being among the softer, less-defended countries of the West, and 2) Norway is making moves to expel a jihadist called Mullah Krekar, who is one of the founders of Ansar al-Islam, the al Qaeda-affiliated group that operated in Iraqi Kurdistan with some help from Saddam’s intelligence services. This could be a message about his coming deportation.”

Flapola continues:

When events demonstrated how reckless he’d been, Goldberg added a third paragraph raising the possibility of right-wing terrorism. By not labeling this as an update, he left readers to conclude that he was just exploring multiple theories rather than using the massacre to make a bold pronouncement about the worldwide jihadist danger. Later that evening, beginning around 8 PM, Goldberg began adding 4 further paragraphs on stray thoughts, each of which he did carefully label as an “UPDATE”. At the same time he also added “(UPDATED)” to the title. So he was capable of noting updates when there was nothing to be gained from not doing so.

On Saturday, Goldberg posted a roundabout defense of his decision to rush to judgment, “On Suspecting al Qaeda in the Norway Attacks.” It is characteristically disingenuous, particularly about what he had written in “Mumbai”.

On Monday, when he learned (via James Fallows) that I had found cached evidence that he’d made those unacknowledged changes to “Mumbai”, Goldberg hurriedly added another update to the post. This was the aforementioned bizarre explanation for not having labeled the first revision as an ‘update’. It is so ridiculous it really needs to be seen to be believed.

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{ 36 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. The “Atlantic” is the perfect place for Goldberg. He fits right in.

    • annie says:

      sorry for wedging my way into the top of the thread but for the latest see flapola’s latest entry

      since his notorious ‘gibberish’ update last Monday. Here is the latest update in full:

      UPDATE ON THE UPDATE ON THE UPDATE (Thursday the 28th): Jay Rosen has pointed out that the previous paragraphs read like gibberish. He’s mostly right. Here’s a shorter version: I posted, updated,, erased the post by mistake, tried to restore the post, left things out of the post, then fixed the post. There are people out there — people who are opposed to me on ideological grounds — who are accusing me of intentionally doctoring the post. They offer no proof, however. All I can say is that the screw-ups were inadvertent.

      LOL. busted!

    • RE: “The ‘Atlantic’ is the perfect place for Goldberg.” ~ P.O.A.

      SEE: Clemons to ‘Atlantic,’ Goldberg from ‘Atlantic’ to ‘Tablet’link to

      • Thanks for digging that out, Dickerson, I hadn’t read it, and as a longtime and prolific past commentor at TWN, I found the various opinions about Clemons interesting. Seeing him described as a “real liberal” by one commentor was interesting, as I firmly believe he’d take exception to that. He often described himself as a “realist”, and entertained many political notions that were hardly “liberal”.

        At the risk of Toivo accusing me of being “obsessed”, I can attest to a fascination with the metamorphosis I witnessed Steve going through, eventually landing this post at The Atlantic. He and I once shared an amiable and interesting online friendship, that deteriorated with each rung of the ladder he chose to ascend. Personally, it is my opinion that Steve reached a crossroads, and chose career over morally responsible activism. In short, I think he sold out to a political machine that richly rewards those that go along to get along. I realize that Toivo and Kathleen almost certainly disagree. But my opinion is based on years of participation and observation at TWN, and scores of personal email exchanges with Steve.

        One comment at the link you provided posits that Goldberg took a step down, and Clemons took a step up, because he ” is now one of the magazine’s top dogs”.

        As far as Goldberg goes, I really don’t see how he could find a step “down”. As if he wasn’t already languishing curbside??

        But Clemons??? A “step up” to become a “top dog” of a corporate ass-kissing propaganda mill and establishment mouthpiece like “The Atlantic”????

        Yeah, its a step up allright. On the wrong effin’ ladder.

        • ToivoS says:

          I think Clemons ambitions are not just being an Atlantic writer — he strikes me as someone who aspires to high government appointment. If that is his goal then there are topics that he must work around with great caution. I happen to believe he has very good instincts and this country would be better off if he were in government.

          You should read his obituary of Chalmers Johnson that appeared in TPMcafe. He explains himself in a very credible fashion while praising Johnson’s uncompromising positions.

  2. Donald says:

    I’m not too interested in whether Goldberg tried to cover his rear with that update. We already know he’s a jerk. What’s more important is that he’s been a cheerleader for the Iraq War and is a prime example of a journalist who has failed his way to success.

    • MRW says:

      is a prime example of a journalist who has failed his way to success.

      No, he’s a member of the tribe, period, that’s what keeps him there. That, and his stenographer value to Netanyahu.

  3. From the Flapola link….

    “In addition, three other Atlantic authors (James Fallows, Steve Clemons, and Ta-Nehisi Coates) made common cause in rebuking a Washington Post author (Jennifer Rubin) for her own grotesque rush to judgment, but nevertheless have managed to avoid even mentioning their colleague Goldberg’s offenses”

    Of course. Such selective criticism is a hallmark of Coates and Clemons, although it kinda suprises me from Fallows. Rubin and Clemons have been in a catfight for months now, and ANYTHING either of them say or do will illicit high pitched screams and caterwalling from the other. A shame they can’t just get into a carboard box and scratch it out with each other. Meow….hiss….spit…

    And I strongly doubt the taskmasters at The Atlantic take kindly to inter-rivalry or derision and criticism amongst their coterie of carefully chosen mouthpieces. Otherwise, they’d probably love to have Rubin onboard.

    • MRW says:

      but nevertheless have managed to avoid even mentioning their colleague Goldberg’s offenses

      It would be edited out even if it were there originally.

  4. Many originally attributed the bombings to jihadists, especially after the press reported that a supposedly jihadist organization took credit.

    That turned out to be false.

    Let it go.

    • Whatsa matter, Witty, is the false narrative finally biting you people in the ass?

      Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along…..

      • MRW says:


        I’ve really enjoyed your passionate posts here. ;-) I see your have your metal file out to do sanding duty.

    • Bumblebye says:

      “Let it go.”
      Not on your nelly.
      Breivik was captured around 7pm Norwegian time, noon your time. Within a couple of hours of that, the knowledge of his background was seeping out – yet your MSM, tv and papers, were still pushing the radical islamist, mooslim, al qaeda rubbish long after it had become WIDELY known. All you, and nearly as often, we, are getting from our MSM is feeble and easily overturned propaganda, on this and many other issues.

      • MRW says:

        Correct, Bumblebye. If I remember Tord correctly, they identified Breivik as a home grown before ABB started massacring kids at Utoya. That would make it 10 AM EST. Jennifer Rubin was probably just getting to the office. Ditto Goldberg.

    • gazacalling says:

      I’m sympathetic to that sentiment, Richard, but did you read the Anthony Weiner-esque “explanation” in the link? This post was enjoyable just for sheer entertainment value.

      Goldberg’s explanation:

      UPDATE ON THE PREVIOUS UPDATE (Monday the 25th): A number of readers have pointed out that my previous caveat give the impression that it was an instantaneous caveat, when in fact it wasn’t. It was written a short while after the original post went up, and was labeled “Update” originally (I’ve since affixed the word “update” to it again. What happened was that I was driving and had connectivity problems, and so when I added further updates (below), I inadvertently erased the whole post, and had to rescue it from a Word document, but in re-posting that word document (or most of it — I saved only most of it) I dropped the word “update,” along with a couple of other things. And then I thought I had saved it and posted it, when it fact the “save” didn’t go through until a later “save” of another update. When the post went out on my RSS feed, I believe it still had the word “update” in it. Though I don’t know for sure, but will check my RSS feed when I get back. I’m sorry this sounds so confusing, but I want to clear up the impression that I folded in caveats later without saying that they were added later. In truth, I can’t figure out what happened, because I thought when I wrote the aforementioned caveat, it had successfully posted, when it seems that it hadn’t.

      i barely understand the previous paragraph. Suffice it to say I don’t want to leave anyone with either the impression that the caveat paragraph was posted simultaneously with the original content of the post, or that it was added hours or days later. I wrote it almost right after I posted originally, but it apparently wasn’t saved into text until one of the next times I opened up this post. My bad — no blogging and driving for me. And of course it was my bad not to lard even more caveats into the post in the first place.

      UPDATE ON THE UPDATE ON THE UPDATE (Thursday the 28th): Jay Rosen has pointed out that the previous paragraphs read like gibberish. He’s mostly right. Here’s a shorter version: I posted, updated,, erased the post by mistake, tried to restore the post, left things out of the post, then fixed the post. There are people out there — people who are opposed to me on ideological grounds — who are accusing me of intentionally doctoring the post. They offer no proof, however. All I can say is that the screw-ups were inadvertent.

    • “Many originally attributed the bombings to jihadists, especially after the press reported that a supposedly jihadist organization took credit”

      Gee, who knew the Islamophobes in the media were so plentiful? Multiply like randy rabbits, don’t they??? Or, uh, is “lemmings” a more apropos comparison??

      (Being the nice and sensitive guy that I am, I’ll leave skunks and rats out of my comment)

      I understand the initial assertion of a “jihadist group” taking credit was attributed to the CIA. Kinda beautifully Cheneyesque, ain’t it?

      But your Standard Talking Point #648B, from the Mindless Rebuttal Handbook, page 48………..

      “Lots of jackasses do it, so whats the big deal???”

      …….is duly noted.

    • James North says:

      Richard Witty said, ‘Here’s one more example of my double standard. I’m prepared to ‘let it go’ when Arabs and Muslims are slandered. But if Israel were wrongly blamed for some atrocity, I would immediately comment on three separate threads with words like ‘THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.’

    • Cliff says:

      Richard Witty never misses an opportunity to be a hypocrite.

  5. ehrens says:

    Goldberg was starting to get it right, about Update 4:

    “Perhaps this attack will encourage governments to track the sale of fertiilizer more carefully.”

    Good advice for his own editors.

  6. Cliff says:

    Goldberg being the thick-skulled doofus (most accurate visual of Goldberg) that he is – says this in one of his updates:

    I’m sure someone on the Internets has pointed this out already, but if these are the acts of a Norwegian lone wolf — massive car bomb and point-blank massacre in a different location hours later — then this guy is a true terror prodigy, the Muhammad Atta of Norway. Terrorism is hard to do. This is one of the reasons the U.S. hasn’t been hit by an organized plot since 9/11.

    Did I miss something? Did Muslims invent terrorism? Did Arabs?

    Why is it that these neoconservatives and Zionists frame this tragedy through an Islamist lens? Why can’t they talk about the guy as an extremist instead of an Islamic extremist.

    As long as the War on Terror, and Israel’s demographic problem exist – these servants of power will continue to keep the boogeyman alive. Even if there are plenty of other monsters out there.

    • ToivoS says:

      What is ironic is that the first car bomb (actually it was a donkey cart bomb) in the ME was used by the Zionist against Palestinian villagers in the 1940s. This was the Stern gang led by Begin.

  7. RE: “well, it’s too complicated for me, but apparently Glenn Greenwald is after Goldberg, and some folks are going after Jim Fallows for assailing Jennifer Rubin for the same thing…” – Weiss

    EVEN MORE CONFOUNDING: “The good thing about being crucified is that you know it’s close to the end.” ~ Amélie in Fear and Trembling

    Fear and Trembling (Stupeur et Tremblements) 2003 NR
    107 minutes [Netflix streaming until 8/1/11]
    In search of a new beginning, Amélie (Sylvie Testud) moves from Belgium back to her early-childhood home of Japan, where she starts working full time for a large corporation. But life as a foreigner proves difficult to navigate — and Eastern office etiquette is nothing like what she’s used to. French director Alain Corneau helms this Tokyo-based dramedy* adapted from the autobiographical novel by Amélie Nothomb.
    Language: French (English subtitles)
    Netflix Availability: Streaming and DVD (Streaming until 8/1/11)
    NETFLIX LISTING – link to
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    * P.S. Definition of DRAMEDY: a comedy (as a film or television show) having dramatic moments

  8. Chaos4700 says:

    Now if only Goldberg wasn’t the poster boy for mainstream American media all over.

  9. I just had a brief email exchange with Clemons on this issue. I have emailed him back, requesting permission to quote him. I do not believe in exposing personal correspondences without permission. Hopefully, he will agree, as I found his short comment overly complimentary of Fallow’s role in this.

  10. Sumud says:

    Goldberg seems to have made some progress on I/P of late and is becoming a little more strident with his criticism of Israel. He had a hilarious exchange with Israeli Deputy FM Danny Ayalon a few days ago on twitter. Perhaps he’s beginning to understand the scale and direction of the train wreck that Israel has become. And then, he goes and does stupid things like this.

    In other news, Abe Foxman has obliquely compared Pamela Geller and her cohorts to nazis in a Washington Post article:

    This belief system goes far beyond anti-Islamic prejudice based on simple religious or racial grounds. In a sense, it parallels the creation of an ideological — and far more deadly — form of anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on the backs of the previously dominant cultural and religious forms of anti-Semitism.
    Norwegian attacks stem from a new ideological hate

    That is good – and accurate – but he then tries to position Breivik’s zionism as a “bizarre twist”, ignoring the fact that Geller herself is jewish and a zionist of the most extreme views, as her article archive at Arutz Sheva demonstrates.

    Meanwhile, LGF documents Geller deleting incriminating material from her blog by a Norweigan far-right extremist that could be Breivik or someone closely associated to him:

    Pamela Geller Edits Post to Conceal Violent Rhetoric in ‘Email from Norway’

    And Justin Raimondo asks who exactly funded Breivik, because he sure didn’t himself, and had large amounts of money deposited in his bank account:

    Anders Behring Breivik, Mystery Man

  11. Pixel says:

    - – Norway has been accused of inciting against Israel and funding an anti-Israel film, exhibition, and play. link to

    - – The youth camp where the slaughter occurred had just held a pro-Palestinian Rally.

    - – Norway has supported a Palestinian State.

    - – Last year, Norway excluded investments in two Israeli firms. link to

    - – Norway had recently announced plans to withdraw from Libya. link to

    - – Avigdor Lieberman had accused Norway of promoting Anti-Semitism. link to

  12. eGuard says:

    Also, completely out of style, Goldberg had no tweets between 9:40 AM, and the next one at 7:52 PM. Thereafter they resume as normal, every few minutes., as noted in the comments below this Flapola piece.

    At least, that’s how it appears today. Anyone with a Goldberg tweet cache? He sure must have followers.

  13. Brewer says:

    Neocon spin merchants are shameless. Here’s a time-lapse snapshot of the oleaginous “Ambassador” Marc Ginsberg:

    April 2, 2002
    “Saddam’s growing arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and his continued involvement in international terrorism, pose an intolerable threat not only to our friends and allies in the region, but to our homeland as well. There can be no doubt that Saddam has chemical and biological weapons and, according to published intelligence and defector reports, it appears to be only a matter of time before he also acquires nuclear weapons……..We acknowledge that there is virtually no dispute over the importance of eliminating Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the benefits of a regime change in Iraq. ….”
    link to

    August 30, 2010

    “For those who supported the invasion in the first place, the liberation theology that gripped those who pressed for Saddam’s overthrow has surely become an eternal curse. The fallout from the frenzy of overstatem­ents, misreprese­ntations and downright lies has transforme­d the Middle East into a national security sink hole for the United States, and severely undermined our ability to influence the future course of the region.

    It seems like an eternity ago when the groundwork was being laid by the neoconserv­ative movement in the U.S. to orchestrat­e the overthrow of Saddam Hussein…­……….­…….Unf­ortunately­, Perle and Co. had it dead wrong…….Many Republicans, notably the remnants of the neoconservative movement and their supporters who form such groups as “Keep America Safe,” cling for dear life to a thin reed that the decision to invade was right, that the jury is still out, and someone else or something else is to blame for screwing up Iraq. As for the consequences to the rest of the Middle East…that’s a topic they prefer to avoid. ”

    link to

    These fellows need retraining after lunch.

  14. robin says:

    If the original post is quoted accurately by Flapola, Goldberg clearly added a clause to the first paragraph as well. After the phrase, It doesn’t seem likely, on the surface the clause, if this is jihadist in origin appears in the later version but not in the original.

    That’s a pretty convenient phrase to sneak in to the post’s ‘original’ section, since it allows him to pretend that he didn’t assume “jihadist” responsibility to the exclusion of any alternative (without evidence), when that’s exactly what he did.

    And how does the later appearance of that phrase square with his explanations (which I frankly couldn’t even read)?