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, February 13, 2004  
Miller Time (Again)
The New York Times owes readers an explanation for Judith Miller's faulty WMD reporting.

By Jack Shafer
Feb. 12, 2004

Michael Massing flushes New York Times reporter Judith Miller out of her spider hole this week with "Now They Tell Us," a 7,000-word analysis in the New York Review of Books about the press corps' failure to see through the Bush administration's weapons of mass destruction hype. Writes Massing:

In the period before the war, US journalists were far too reliant on sources sympathetic to the administration. Those with dissenting views—and there were more than a few—were shut out. Reflecting this, the coverage was highly deferential to the White House. This was especially apparent on the issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction—the heart of the President's case for war. Despite abundant evidence of the administration's brazen misuse of intelligence in this matter, the press repeatedly let officials get away with it.

For the rest of the story, see Slate

10:20 AM

Setting the record straight

Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

Blog editor's note: This column by Molly Ivins is perhaps the most compelling one I've read by an American observer on the issue of the Bush administration, WMD and the war with Iraq. To dismiss what she has to say simply because she is a "partisan" is easy to do by uncritical supporters of the President, but more thoughtful people would do well to consider her case and the evidence she presents.

- AUSTIN, Texas -- Just for the record, since the record is in considerable peril. These are Orwellian days, my friends, as the Bush administration attempts to either shove the history of the second Gulf War down the memory hole or to rewrite it entirely. Keeping a firm grip on actual historical fact, all of it easily within our imperfect memories, is not that easy amid the swirling storms of misinformation, misremembering and misstatement. But since the war itself stands as a monument to what happens when we let ourselves get stampeded by a chorus of disinformation, let's draw the line right now.

To read the rest of Ms. Ivins' analysis, see Working for Change

8:44 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004  
Now They Tell Us

By Michael Massing
The New York Review of Books
Volume 51, Number 3 · February 26, 2004

Blog editor's note: A number of articles on this blog last year [see index at W.A. Dorman ] dealt with mainstream coverage of the question of weapons of mass destruction before and during the war with Iraq. Several of them dealt with the performance of New York Times correspondent Judith Miller. She figures prominently in this critique of WMD coverage and intelligence that appears in the New York Review of Books. It's written by an outstanding foreign affairs analyst and press critic, Michael Massing, and provides perhaps the most detailed and thoughtful look at the subject that I've read.


In recent months, US news organizations have rushed to expose the Bush administration's pre-war failings on Iraq. "Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper," declared a recent headline in The Washington Post. "Pressure Rises for Probe of Prewar-Intelligence," said The Wall Street Journal. "So, What Went Wrong?" asked Time. In The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh described how the Pentagon set up its own intelligence unit, the Office of Special Plans, to sift for data to support the administration's claims about Iraq. And on "Truth, War and Consequences," a Frontline documentary that aired last October, a procession of intelligence analysts testified to the administration's use of what one of them called "faith-based intelligence."

Watching and reading all this, one is tempted to ask, where were you all before the war? Why didn't we learn more about these deceptions and concealments in the months when the administration was pressing its case for regime change—when, in short, it might have made a difference? Some maintain that the many analysts who've spoken out since the end of the war were mute before it. But that's not true. Beginning in the summer of 2002, the "intelligence community" was rent by bitter disputes over how Bush officials were using the data on Iraq. Many journalists knew about this, yet few chose to write about it.

For the rest of Massing's analysis, see WYNC

8:21 PM

Sunday, February 08, 2004  
10 Questions Russert Didn't Ask
The missed opportunities for follow-ups

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

Blog editor's note: Editor & Publisher is the "bible" of the newspaper industry

NEW YORK (February 08, 2004) -- Partisans may debate whether Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning was too tough or too easy on President George W. Bush in his questioning. Certainly, Russert challenged Bush sharply on several occasions, but he also missed opportunities to raise at least 10 highly relevant questions:

To see what the questions are (and they're tough ones), see Editor & Publisher

7:38 PM

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