Commentary and links relating to media coverage of war; both before, during, and after.

William A. Dorman is Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and has taught a course in War, Peace and the Mass Media since 1970.

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War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Friday, April 04, 2003  
APRIL 04, 2003
Technology Makes War Correspondent's Life Easier
How Tools Have Evolved Since Last Gulf War

By Jim Rosenberg

NEW YORK -- Coming in ever-smaller packages, new tools allow journalists to do their jobs in this Gulf War so much easier than the one 12 years ago -- easier, that is, until antenna panels become sails in a fierce sandstorm that picks up and carries away a lightweight satellite phone. "Sandbags seem to be the solution," says Jeffrey D. Lawrence, information-technology director at Knight Ridder/Tribune (KRT) Information Services. For complete story, see Editor & Publisher

3:45 PM

First American Journalist Killed in Iraq
Kelly Was Magazine Editor, 'Wash. Post' Columnist

APRIL 04, 2003

NEW YORK -- Michael Kelly, a Washington Post columnist and Atlantic Monthly editor at large, was killed in a Humvee accident in Iraq, according to the Post. He is the first American journalist to lose his life in the Iraq war, and the first "embedded" reporter to be killed. For the complete story, see Editor & Publisher

3:42 PM

The Press Gets Pumped

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 3, 2003

For the complete story, see Washington Post
Boy, one little POW rescue can sure change the tone of the press coverage.

By the time Ari Fleischer faced reporters yesterday, many of the questions were about who would be running Iraq once Saddam is permanently sidelined.

Goodbye, quagmire.

Of course, it didn't hurt that U.S. forces apparently whipped a Republican Guard unit south of Baghdad. The TV anchors had something to crow about: 25 miles away! 15 miles away!

After a week that produced its share of negative images and stories – from the Iraqi propaganda tape of American POWs to the awful shooting of Iraqi women and children in a truck that wouldn't stop at a checkpoint – the rescue of Jessica Lynch seemed to give the press corps a shot of adrenaline. (Journalists were also pumped up over two Newsday correspondents and photographer Molly Bingham being found alive after a week of Iraqi imprisonment.)

3:39 PM

Web Access to Arab TV Network Site

You can access the web site of Al Jazeera, the controversial Arab television network, through its English language link: Aljazeera

Check out its "Media" section, which gives a decidedly different take on the performance of the American press. Note: Sometimes the site is overloaded and it takes awhile to get in.

3:31 PM

Thursday, April 03, 2003  
Study finds embedded journalists' reports miss forest

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer - (April 3, 2003)

NEW YORK (AP) - Most of the reporting that television viewers get from journalists embedded with troops in Iraq is anecdotal, rich in detail but often lacking perspective, a study released Wednesday found.

Still, the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds the Pentagon's embedding policy a giant step forward in access from the first Gulf War and the conflict in Afghanistan that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The Pentagon has stationed more than 600 journalists with its forces in and around Iraq.

"On balance, this suggests it's a wonderful tool," said Tom Rosenstiel, the project's director. "But like any tool, you can use it well, and you can use it not so well." For complete story, see Sacramento Bee

6:18 AM

Wednesday, April 02, 2003  
Omnipresent but hardly omniscient, TV struggles with big picture

By Rick Kushman -- Sacramento Bee TV Columnist
April 1, 2003

For complete story, see Sacramento Bee

In a popular San Francisco bar last weekend, about a dozen TV sets were turned on. Half of the TVs -- every other set across the room -- showed coverage of the war in Iraq. The TVs in between aired the NCAA basketball tournament.

It added up to a strange scene. There were six clumps of patrons -- crowded in front of basketball -- and six stretches of open bar in front of the war.

What's that mean? At that place, at that time, people wanted to watch college basketball. Are Americans taking the war for granted? Has it become more background noise like everything else on TV? Have we become disengaged?

8:53 AM

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  
Apr 1 2003

By Peter Arnett

I am still in shock and awe at being fired. There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming out from Baghdad.

They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems.

Read the rest of Arnett's side of the story at Mirror

2:13 PM

Monday, March 31, 2003  
US network sacks top journalist
US broadcaster NBC has sacked celebrated journalist Peter Arnett after he gave an interview on Iraqi television saying the US-led coalition's initial war plan had failed.

Monday, 31 March, 2003 For complete story, see BBC News

NBC said on Monday: "It was wrong for Mr Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV, especially at a time of war.

"And it was wrong for him to discuss personal observations and opinions in that interview."

Arnett, one of the few US correspondents left in Baghdad, became a household name reporting for CNN there during the Gulf War in 1991.

4:51 PM

Sunday, March 30, 2003  
Metaphor and War, Again

George Lakoff, AlterNet

(This timely piece by a UC Berkeley linguist explores how metaphors can kill and will be of interest to anyone concerned about language and the news media)

That's how I began a piece on the first Gulf War back in 1990, just before the war began. Many of those metaphorical ideas are back, but within a very different and more dangerous context. Since Gulf War II is due to start any day, perhaps even tomorrow, it might be useful to take a look before the action begins at the metaphorical ideas being used to justify Gulf War II. For the complete article, see AlterNet

9:30 AM

Beware the Sources of Official Info

By Robert Jensen
Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of "Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream."
For complete article, see Newsday

Just as the Pentagon has developed increasingly sophisticated munitions for the battlefield abroad, it has perfected propaganda to secure public opinion at home.
In that battle, American citizens need critical, independent journalists if they are to get the information necessary to participate meaningfully in the formation of policy. Never has that been more crucial, as the United States unleashes an attack on Iraq that signals a new era of the use of force. Unfortunately in the first few days of the conflict, and the months leading to war, American journalism has largely failed, on several counts.

8:28 AM

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