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, March 05, 2005  
NPR correspondent Amos details Iraq assignments

By Christine Parrish

Blog editor's note: This is a fascinating insider view of what it's like to report from Iraq. Ms. Amos spoke at the annual Camden Conference on the Middle East in Camden, Maine. Village is a community web site serving the region and Camden.

CAMDEN (Feb 28): "We are too restricted. We cannot go out and be reporters in Iraq anymore and it is a big problem." -- Deborah Amos, foreign correspondent for National Public Radio

National Public Radio foreign correspondent Deborah Amos, who has reported from Iraq off and on since the Iraq-American war started two years ago, said Iraq has become the most dangerous assignment in the world and one of the most difficult places to do accurate and balanced reporting.

Amos, who addressed and audience of more than 500 on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the 2005 Camden Conference on the Middle East, said the full story of what is happening in Iraq is not being reported for two reasons: the dangerous situation in the country severely restricts movement, and the U.S. military restricts media access.

To read the full text, see Village

9:27 AM

Journalism, commercialism and playing it safe...or not
In need of Thompson's savage take

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
[published in
The International Herald Tribune]

March 5, 2005

Blog editor's note: Rich takes the recent suicide of Hunter S. Thompson as an opportunity to reflect on the state of journalism today.

NEW YORK Two weeks ago Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide. This week Dan Rather commits ritual suicide, leaving the anchor chair at CBS prematurely as penance for his toxic National Guard story. The two journalists shared little but an abiding distaste - make that hatred in Thompson's case - for the Great Satan of 20th-century American politics, Richard Nixon. The best work of both was long behind them. Yet memories of that best work - not to mention the coincidental timing of their departures - only accentuate the vacuum in that cultural category we stubbornly insist on calling News.
What's missing from News in the United States is the news. On ABC, Peter Jennings devotes two hours of prime time to playing peek-a-boo with UFO fanatics, a whorish stunt crafted to deliver ratings, not information. On NBC, Brian Williams is busy as all get-out, as every promo reminds us, "Reporting America's Story." That story just happens to be the relentless branding of Brian Williams as America's anchorman - a guy just too in love with Folks Like Us to waste his time looking closely at, say, anything happening in Washington.

To read the full text, see International Herald Tribune

8:26 AM

Thursday, March 03, 2005  
Laurie Garrett's memo to Newsday colleagues--
The Long Goodbye

Laurie Garrett
formerly ofNewsday

Blog editor's note: Ms. Garrett's memo of resignation from an important U.S. newspaper is 'must' reading for anyone genuinely interested in the present and future of American journalism.

Dear Newsday Friends and Colleagues, On March 8th -- International Women's Day -- my leave of absence from Newsday ends. I will not be returning to the paper, largely because my work at the Council on Foreign Relations has proven to be the most exciting challenge of my life. But you have been through so much pain and difficulty over the last year, all of which I monitored closely and with considerable concern, that I don't want to disappear from the Newsday scene without saying a few words. Indulge me.

Ever since the Chandler Family plucked Mark Willes from General Foods, placing him at the helm of Times Mirror with a mandate to destroy the institutions in ways that would boost dividends, journalism has suffered at Newsday. The pain of the last year actually began a decade ago: the sad arc of greed has finally hit bottom. The leaders of Times Mirror and Tribune have proven to be mirrors of a general trend in the media world: They serve their stockholders first, Wall St. second and somewhere far down the list comes service to newspaper readerships. In 1996 I personally confronted Willes on that point, and he publicly confirmed that the new regime was one in which even the number of newspapers sold was irrelevant, so long as stock returns continued to rise.

To read the full text, see

12:11 PM

One in Four Americans Would Use Nukes Against Terrorists, Gallup Finds

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

March 01, 2005

NEW YORK More than one in four Americans would go so far as to utilize nuclear bombs if need be in the fight against terrorism, according to a national survey reported today by The Gallup Organization.

Gallup asked Americans whether they would be willing or not willing “to have the U.S. government do each of the following” and then listed an array of options.

To read the full text, see E&

8:14 AM

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