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, March 10, 2004  
UM study critical of WMD coverage
Media said to buy administration line

David Folkenflik
Baltimore Sun
March 10, 2004

Blog editor's note: The debate over how much autonomy the American mainstream demonstrated in its coverage of the weapons of mass destruction issue in the run-up to last year's war with Iraq is heating up. This University of Maryland study is the latest salvo, with much more to come.

A new study from the University of Maryland argues that the media swallowed whole the claims of government officials about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and elsewhere.

"It has been irresistible for policymakers to use threats of WMD as powerful tools of public persuasion and as forceful rationales for policy initiatives," writes Susan D. Moeller, the University of Maryland journalism professor who led the study. "It has been equally irresistible for the media to report both the doomsayer arguments and the defense and security arguments verbatim."

The president sets the agenda, she claims, while reporters, constricted by arrangements with unnamed sources, do not skeptically scrutinize his statements. Moeller gives the press a poor grade, saying the public lacks suitable context to assess the claims about whether foreign powers and terrorists are posing a threat with weapons of mass destruction.

To read the rest of this story, see Baltimore Sun

10:06 AM

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