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, September 18, 2004  
If This Is What Passes For Considered Judgment,
No Wonder Americans Are Confused....And the Polls
Still Show Bush Ahead

(Blog editor's note: The excerpt below is from a Sunday, Sept. 19, editorial in the Washington Post. To the degree it accurately reflects the received journalistic wisdom in the U.S., it is no mystery at all why so many Americans are confused about the Bush administration's conduct of Iraq policy.)

...Too often American soldiers and commanders have been flung into the breach between illusion and reality. Many have responded with great courage and creativity, and they can point to many accomplishments that receive little attention back home. But more than 1,000 have died, thousands more as well have paid a terrible cost and no end to these losses is in sight.

Whatever his rhetoric, Mr. Bush deserves to be judged by this record. In our view, it is one of courage in setting goals and steadfastness in sticking to them but also one of extraordinary recklessness and incompetence in execution.

To read the entire Post editorial, see The Washington Post

9:18 PM

Monday, September 13, 2004  
Three Years After 9/11: More than 40% of Americans Still Think Saddam Did It
Media failure or willful public indifference to the truth? 'E & P' readers sound off and point fingers

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

NEW YORK (September 10, 2004) -- The latest Newsweek poll, released this week, revealed that 42% of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein's regime was "directly involved" in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, despite all the evidence to the contrary. That's nearly as many as the 44% who disagree.

It seems to matter little that every official federal probe, most recently the much-lauded 9/11 Commission, has debunked this myth, in high-profile reports. Yet the percentage of Americans clinging to the Iraq connection has declined only slightly in the past year.

Two weeks ago, in a previous column, I explored findings from another poll that suggested that Americans remain "woefully uniformed or misinformed about certain key issues relating to the war." One survey result: 35% still believe that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD when the U.S. invaded.

I ended that column by asking readers to send along their thoughts on the following question: Does the media deserve blame for failing to educate the public, or do we need to accept the fact that "you can lead readers to the truth but you can't make them drink it"? Thanks for the many thoughtful replies, along with the usual hate mail (often from people claiming Saddam WAS behind 9/11).

To read excerpts from some of the letters received by Mitchell, see E & P

1:02 PM

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