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
Thursday, December 18, 2003  
9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable
NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2003

[Blog editor's note: It will be instructive to track how much coverage this story receives in mainstream media. Of course, should the trials of Scott Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson in any way overlap, the equivalent of a journalistic Perfect Storm will wipe all but WWIII off the front pages.]

For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.

For the rest of what may develop into one of the year's top stories (or at least ought to), see

7:50 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003  
It's Time for Plame-Case Reporters to Out the Administration Leakers!

By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers.

December 16, 2003

Journalists do not reveal sources. It's what gives the Fourth Estate some of its clout: Officials, and lower-level whistleblowers, trust us to receive sensitive information and not get them in trouble by ratting on them. In Washington and in state capitols, officials leak information all the time, provide off-the-record statements to reporters, engage in "background" interviews without permitting themselves to be quoted by name or title.

We do not say who told us those things. We journalists might get thrown in the clink for not revealing who provided us the information, but the sources have no need to worry about their futures. We will keep our mouths shut. It's not just a journalistic tradition, it's also a practical matter: If we revealed our source in one instance, we might never get anybody to tell us anything significant in private again.

So here I am urging my journalistic colleagues -- at least six of them -- to break the tradition and reveal their sources, in the interest of national security.

You know what I'm referring to. After Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times that contradicted Bush's false State of the Union claims about Iraq seeking to buy Niger uranium, two "senior administration officials" told at least six journalists in July that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA agent. Karl Rove, Bush's closest political advisor, reportedly told Hardball's Chris Matthews that after Wilson's op-ed piece, Mrs. Wilson was "fair game."

This revelation of her undercover role at the CIA is against the law, a law signed by the first Bush president, George H.W. Bush. In 1999, he told assembled CIA employees that those who would reveal the identity of undercover intelligence officers are the "most insidious of traitors."

For the rest of this analysis, see The Crisis Papers

7:37 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  
Read All About It! From the Capture of Saddam to Prospects for Iraqi Stability--
Juan Cole's web page is a major resource

Blog editor's note: I've recommended this site before, but given the capture of Saddam Hussein I think a reminder is in order to check out the web page of Juan Cole, a professor of history at University of Michigan, whose analysis of current events in Iraq is among the best informed of which I'm aware.

To access Prof. Cole's web site, see Juan Cole

8:34 AM

Monday, December 15, 2003  
Why 'USA Today' Probed Cluster Bombs in Iraq
As New Report Claims 1,000 Casualties From Weapon

By Seth Porges, Editor & Publisher
DECEMBER 11, 2003

NEW YORK -- USA Today's front-page story Thursday about how the Pentagon "painted a misleading picture" about the use of cluster bombs in Iraq was born when reporter Paul Wiseman encountered Iraqis personally affected by these controversial weapons.

According to the story, cluster bombs are responsible for killing and wounding many Iraqi civilians, and some U.S. soldiers, especially so-called "dud" bombs that do not explode upon initial use, but are stumbled upon at a later point by innocent people.

To read the rest of this analysis, see Editor & Publisher

11:32 AM

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