I am pretty sure the "US" did say that. The "US" being BushCo at the time. So it was true that the "US" said that. That is the problem with some journalists. They report what the "US" (or now what TrumpCo) says and then MAYBE follows that up with what the actual facts really are.
You've got it wrong. The story was the impetus for the government officials to go on Meet the Press and express their grave concern.
...and that wasn't a problem with "some journalists" with respect to the NYT. Executive editor Jill Abramson stood behind Judith Miller through every aluminum tube.
We should not being ANY airtime or bandwidth to false claims. It only strengthens them.
That is how the Russians won.
I take serious issue with this concept of a gatekeeper of falsehood. On Facebook, I see this "spectrum of honest news" meme every now and then and I see the NYT at the crux of fairness and non-partisan and I just laugh and laugh...