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
Saturday, January 31, 2004  
What Did You Do During the War, Daddy? President Bush's National Guard Career

Documentary film maker Michael Moore ("Roger and Me" and "Bowling For Columbine") recently called President Bush a "deserter," earning the displeasure of a number of well-known establishment journalists. Columnist James Ridgeway thinks Moore's description of the President's service record isn't so farfetched. For a consideration of Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam years, see Village Voice

3:48 PM

Friday, January 30, 2004  
Comment on the Hutton Report and the BBC

Blog editor's note: given the furor in England that continues over release of the Hutton Report and its harsh criticism of the British Broadcasting Corporation, I thought the following excerpt from an email I received from a friend in England might be of interest.

"Andrew Gilligan should have had his wrists slapped by his editor for
carelessness, even recklessness, in his disputed report for the 'Today'
programme...Yet no weight [in the Hutton report] at all is given to the one big thing that Gilligan got right: he said that the government was grossly exaggerating the threat posed by Iraqi WMDS!

Some of us remain grateful to Mr. Gilligan. Hardly a man or woman at Westminster, in Whitehall, or in the Armed Forces doubts that Tony Blair promised George Bush that Britain would join in the Texan crusade in Iraq long before any of the Downing Street dossiers was even drafted!

Tony Blair and his colleagues have been acquitted on the charges that they so deftly formulated against themselves but for the vast majority of us they leave the dock with stains on their characters that no amount of judicial laundering can remove.

Sadly the greatest charge of all, ignored by Hutton, is that of procuring a war by deceit..."

4:42 PM

Third BBC official out, balks at 'black and white' report

LONDON (AP) — BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan resigned Friday after a judicial inquiry repudiated his reporting that the government "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq — the third resignation prompted by the harsh criticism.

The controversy has sent a chill through British media, with senior journalists warning it could impede tough investigative reporting.

In a statement, Gilligan apologized for mistakes in his May 2003 story.

"My departure is at my own initiative," he said. "But the BBC collectively has been the victim of a grave injustice."

For the rest of this report, see USA Today

4:39 PM

Wednesday, January 28, 2004  
BBC Chairman Resigns After Hutton Criticism

January 28, 2004 12:44 PM ET
By Adam Pasick, UK media correspondent

Blog editor's note: The Hutton report on the BBC's handling of pre-war stories about WMD and the Blair government has been released, and it is fueling calls to have outside regulation of the BBC. In my view, should this occur, the BBC stands a good chance of losing precisely those qualities that have made it perhaps the leading mainstream news gathering organization in the world. The irony is that, at the end of the day, there is every reason to believe that the Blair govt. (not unlike the Bush administration) did indeed put pressure on intelligence agencies to give them "intelligence" about Iraq to support their decision to wage war

LONDON (Reuters) - The chairman of the BBC resigned on Wednesday and the broadcaster apologized for some of its reporting on the buildup to the war in Iraq after an inquiry by a senior judge lambasted the corporation.

The report by Lord Hutton criticized journalist Andrew Gilligan, the BBC's management and its supervisory board of governors, for a radio report saying the government "sexed up" intelligence in a dossier on Iraqi weapons.

Hutton said the BBC report was unfounded.

For the rest of the story, see Reuters

10:26 AM

Editorials Question Bush's Role in 'Cooking' Up a War

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher
January 28, 2004

NEW YORK In the wake of the latest revelations from weapons inspector David Kay, many of the largest U.S. newspapers are belatedly pressing the Bush administration for an explanation of how it could have gotten the question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq so wrong in the march to war last year. A growing number are raising the possibility that Bush and his team may have "cooked" the intelligence to support their case for war.

An E&P survey of the top 20 newspapers by circulation found that as of Wednesday, 13 had run editorials on Kay's resignation as chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq last Friday, and his statement that no WMDs exist in Iraq, and likely did not exist in Iraq during the U.S. run-up to war.

For the rest of this story, see Editor & Publisher

10:02 AM

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