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 25, 2005  
Dead Messengers:
    How the U.S. Military Threatens Journalists
Do American soldiers purposely kill journalists, as CNN's Eason Jordan supposedly said? Or, could the problem be even worse?

  By Steve Weissman
    t r u t h o u t | Investigation
24 February 2005

First of a 4-part series

    Part I: Hearing What Eason Jordan Said

 Eason Jordan, CNN's freshly ousted news chief, hardly knew what hit him. On Thursday, January 27, he was schmoozing with the global A-List at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On Friday, February 11, he was looking for work.

    "After 23 years at CNN," he wrote, "I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq."

    "I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise."

    Corporate media managers had long envied Jordan's diplomatic skill, as when he arranged CNN's live coverage from Baghdad of the first Gulf War. But political conservatives reviled him for being "too liberal." They also felt he had cozied up to Saddam.

    The right-wingers got that right, as many political progressives agreed. In an April 2003 Op-Ed for the New York Times, Jordan admitted that he had personally held back news that the Iraqis had tortured a CNN staff member. To run the story would have jeopardized the network's access and made it necessary to remove some or all of its people working in the country.

To read the full text, see





1:15 PM

Wednesday, February 23, 2005  
 The News Media and the
“Clash of Civilizations”

© 2004 Philip Seib
Winter 2004-05, pp. 71-85.

Blog editor's note: Parameters is the US Army War College Quarterly. Seib is the Lucius W. Nieman Professor of Journalism at Marquette University, and has written extensively on the press and foreign affairs. This essay is a far reaching analysis of how the media approaches coverage of foreign affairs in general and the confrontation between the U.S. and parts of the Islamic world in particular.

The “call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered,” reported The New York Times in April 2004. The Times story quoted a Muslim cleric in Britain touting the “culture of martyrdom,” an imam in Switzerland urging his followers to “impose the will of Islam on the godless society of the West,” and another radical Islamist leader in Britain predicting that “our Muslim brothers from abroad will come one day and conquer here, and then we will live under Islam in dignity.”1

For those who believe that a clash of civilizations—particularly between Islam and the non-Islamic West—is under way or at least approaching, the provocative comments in the Times article were evidence that “the clash” is not merely a figment of an overheated political imagination. Ever since Samuel Huntington presented his theory about such a clash in a Foreign Affairs article in 1993, debate has continued about whether his ideas are substantive or simplistic. For the news media, this debate is important because it helps shape their approach to covering the world. News Coverage and the Huntington Debate...

To read the full text, see Parameters

8:18 PM

Tuesday, February 22, 2005  
A Demobilized Press in a Global Free-Fire Zone

Tom Englehardt
January 24, 2005

Blog editor's note: Englehardt is one of the most perceptive observers of mainstream press performance writing today. This rather long analysis is well worth your effort if you're genuinely interested in understanding why the press has behaved as it has during the Bush Administration in general and the Iraq war in particular. A shorter version appears in the February 28, 2005 issue of The Nation. If you don't already subscribe to email distribution of his blog, you can sign up on his page, which is linked below. It's free.

"'It's a finesse to give power to Rumsfeld -- giving him the right to act swiftly, decisively, and lethally,' the first Pentagon adviser told me. 'It's a global free-fire zone.'" (Seymour Hersh, The Coming Wars, the New Yorker magazine)

George Bush's all-foreign-policy inaugural address offered a globe-enveloping neocon version of a Pax Americana world. Analyses in the days that followed tended to mention, often critically (as did the Democrats), that the President named not a single country in his speech, not even Iraq -- though there was a clear reference to our war there. ("Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon.") In fact, the only foreign place name, Sinai ("the truths of Sinai"), was fittingly enough for this President a reference to the Old Testament in a speech that God ("the Author of liberty") evidently did everything but write.

In truth, though, there was no need to mention the names of specific lands. For one thing, the President's men and women were, in the days around the inauguration, out on the hustings mentioning names galore. Dick Cheney went on the shock-jock Imus Show, threatening Iran by name with the big stick of Israel ("...the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards"); while Secretary of State designate Condoleezza Rice, in her Senate testimony, listed a six-country Fistful of Evil ("outposts of tyranny") -- Cuba, Burma, North Korea, Iran, Belarus and Zimbabwe -- as well as a Quadrangle of Reversible Tyranny -- Russia, China, Pakistan and Egypt -- "friendly" states which needed to institute democratic reforms or else. Meanwhile, in the New Yorker magazine, Seymour Hersh was informing us that the President had already signed a fistful "of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia" including Iran.

To read the full text, see

8:28 AM

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