Caught Jim Thompson complaining last night on O’Reilly about how the media has handled the 9-11 commission’s conclusions about Iraq and al Qaeda–reporting it as if the commission had said there was no connection at all. I’m glad Thompson is such an acute critic of the press, but wasn’t this sort of play entirely predictable? Didn’t the commission make it almost inevitable given the cursory way it handled this explosive topic? If the commission had been more responsible, it would have gone into the question of the connection at more length, in which case its reporting would have looked more like a Steve Hayes or Rich Miniter piece, cataloguing the long history of connections and THEN saying there is no evidence that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in attacks against the United States. That wouldn’t have been so susceptible to media misreporting. So, unless some forces on the commission intended to get this sort of media reaction, this episode has to chalked up as another 9-11 commission screw-up. Either way it speaks badly of the commission.