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, May 06, 2004  
Bush apologizes after more photos surface

Globe and Mail
May. 6, 2004

Blog editor's note: To view the photos discussed in the story below, see Washington Post
The publication of more photos showing the abuse and degradation of prisoners in Iraq prompted U.S. President George W. Bush to apologize Thursday for the humiliation they had suffered.

The new photos threaten U.S. efforts to limit a scandal spiralling out of control. They come amid reports from the International Committee for the Red Cross that its officials were worried about activities at Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, long before stories of mistreatment became public.

The photos come a day after Mr. Bush assured the Arabic world that the United States would not stand for such behaviour. On Thursday, after a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, he said he was apologetic for the behaviour of some U.S. soldiers.

To read the rest of this story, see Globe and Mail

12:33 PM

Wednesday, May 05, 2004  
Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush

The New York Times
May 5, 2004

Blog editor's note: Those worried about multi-media ownership trends and the possibilities of corporate censorship will find little reassurance in the story that follows.

WASHINGTON, May 4 — The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday.

The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Disney, which bought Miramax more than a decade ago, has a contractual agreement with the Miramax principals, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, allowing it to prevent the company from distributing films under certain circumstances, like an excessive budget or an NC-17 rating.

To read the rest of the story, see New York times

9:08 PM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004  

American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go?

The New Yorker
May 4, 2004

Blog editor's note: Hersh is the Pulitizer Prize-winning reporter who also broke the My Lai atrocity story during Vietnam, and is considered one of the best investigative reporters in contemporary journalism.

In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and women—no accurate count is possible—were jammed into Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells that were little more than human holding pits. . .

... A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the [U.S. occupation] Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib.

To read the rest of this article, see New Yorker

8:53 AM

Monday, May 03, 2004  
Professor: Media Pulling Punches On Iraq Coverage Restrictions

The Japanese government has made a forceful request for self-censorship when it comes to news in Iraq, says media law professor Takaaki Hattori, and the media have largely followed through. Hattori thinks it's part of a larger decline in society's concern for freedom of speech.

by Keiko Mori
April 29, 2004

Media law professor Takaaki Hattori has kept a close eye on the growing -- and apparently readily accepted -- government restrictions on Japanese media coverage of the nation's reconstruction efforts in Iraq. An instructor in the sociology department at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Hattori is an outspoken advocate for freedom of the press and has been quoted by major Japanese news outlets.

To read the rest of this story, see Japan Media Review

8:34 AM

Wolfie's Fuzzy Math

The New York Times
May 2, 2004

Blog editor's note: For those who believe Ms. Dowd is relentlessly "anti-Bush, I suggest you go back and review her columns on the Clinton administration.

This administration is the opposite of "The Sixth Sense."

They don't see any dead people.

Beyond the president's glaring absence at military funerals; beyond the Pentagon's self-serving ban on photographing the returning flag-draped coffins at Dover; beyond playing down the thousands of wounded and maimed American troops and the thousands of hurt and dead Iraqi civilians, now comes the cruel arithmetic of Paul Wolfowitz.

What can you say about a deputy defense secretary so eager to invade Iraq he was nicknamed Wolfowitz of Arabia, so bullish to remold the Middle East he froze the State Department out of the occupation and then mangled it, who doesn't bother to keep track of the young Americans who died for his delusion?

Those troops were killed while they were still trying to fathom the treacherous tribal and religious beehive they were never prepared for, since they thought they'd be helping build schools and hospitals for grateful Iraqis.

Asked during a Congressional budget hearing on Thursday how many American troops had been killed in Iraq, Mr. Wolfowitz missed by more than 30 percent. "It's approximately 500, of which — I can get the exact numbers — approximately 350 are combat deaths," he said.

As of Thursday, there were 722 deaths, 521 in combat. The No. 2 man at the Pentagon was oblivious in the bloodiest month of the war, with the number of Americans killed in April overtaking those killed in the six-week siege of Baghdad last year.

To read the rest of Dowd's OpEd column, see The New York Times

8:30 AM

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