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
Wednesday, February 25, 2004  
Washington Post Memo to Staffers on Proper Use of Sources

February 25, 2004
Blog Editor's note:

At the risk of posting an "inside baseball" item, I think a Washington Post memo on the subject of sourcing and use of sources would be of interest to readers of this blog. The Post among American newspapers may have a particularly keen interest in the subject. As many may remember, the Post had an "unfortunate" experience with a young writer (Janet Cook) who invented a source, supposedly a 8-year-old heroin addict, for a 1981 Pulitizer-winning piece on drug addition. In one of the most embarassing moments in Post history, the prize had to be returned days after it was awarded. Interestingly enough, the reporter was under the "supervision" of two of the most famous editors in American journalism at the time, Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward.

To read the memo, which was posted by Romenesko, see Poynteronline

10:21 AM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004  
Journalists offered Iraq war medals

Richard Norton-Taylor
February 24, 2004
The Guardian

Blog editor's note: I have never heard of medals being offered journalists before, but it may have been a practice during WWII. My suspicion is that most journalists will refuse to accept them. It also occurs to me that some will suggest this is a rather blatant attempt by the Blair government to co-opt British journalists.

Journalists embedded with British forces during the Iraq war are be offered a medal along with members of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, said: "The medal recognises the collective bravery and achievements of the military and civilian personnel who risked so much to remove Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime."

For the rest of the story, see The Guardian

4:36 PM

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare
The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues


January 26, 2004
By David Stipp

[Blog editor's note: Until today (Sunday, February 22, 2004) I had heard nothing about a "secret" Pentagon "nightmare" report that holds that radical climate change, not terrorism, may be the most immediate and serious threat to American national security. So far as I can tell, the report first surfaced in a January piece in Fortune magazine, hardly a hotbed of radical alternative journalism, but didn't receive much wider attention until today. (For instance see the The Guardian) At the very least, what's of more than passing interest is a Pentagon report that holds global warming and the like could pose a huge threat to world stability at the same time the Bush Administration is arguing that such concerns are of little merit. Why this report has not received wider coverage is puzzling, but perhaps it will in the coming weeks.]

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade—like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

For the rest of the article, see Fortune

3:45 PM

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