Releasing the Briefing

When the White House released the sure-to-be-controversial Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief (PDB) on the terrorist threat against the U.S., its timing could not have been accidental," reports Greg Mitchell. "Coming shortly after 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on Saturday, it not only emerged too late for the network news programs, it also gave the nation's daily newspapers just hours to digest and interpret it. To help reporters in this task, the White House also released a guide longer than the 17-sentence PDB. But if the White House hoped that all of this would make major newspapers spin the story their way, officials there must be sadly disappointed today. Nearly every major outlet chose to focus on the aspects of the brief that were not merely 'historical,' as the administraton had portrayed the document before its release."