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, April 22, 2005  
Rove's Reading: Not So Liberal as Leery

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post
April 20, 2005; Page A04

Blog editor's note: This interview with top White Advisor Carl Rove shows a sophisticated understanding of government-press relations, far more sophisticated than what is usually on offer from the conservative right (or left). But note that the oppositional nature of the press which Rove discusses centers on how the press covers domestic politics. Nothing is said about an adversary press and foreign affairs. Nor does he comment, say, on the work of The New York Times' Judith Miller in covering the White House's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the 2003 war, or how American reporters and editorial pages generally wrote uncritically of Sec. of State Collin Powell's February 2003 assertions about WMDs to the United Nations.

CHESTERTOWN, Md., April 18 -- Karl Rove was out of his element. He left the security of his West Wing office and the Republican fundraising circuit to face an audience of smart-alecky students on a college campus -- a liberal arts college, no less -- here in this reliably blue state. A show of hands found two-thirds of the audience opposed President Bush's plans for Social Security.

What lured Bush's most trusted adviser to this locale was an irresistible invitation: a chance to play media critic. For more than an hour, he lectured about everything that is wrong with journalism, and his conclusion may surprise conservatives such as Tom DeLay, who has been complaining in recent days about a "liberal media" smear campaign.

"I'm not sure I've talked about the liberal media," Rove said when a student inquired -- a decision he said he made "consciously." The press is generally liberal, he argued, but "I think it's less liberal than it is oppositional."

To read the full text, see Washington Post

8:01 AM

New Boys in Town
The Neocon Revolution and American Militarism

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Blog editor's note: This is the second excerpt from Bacevich's new book on the new militarism (see previous item).

In our own time -- and especially since the ascendancy of George W. Bush to the presidency -- "neoconservative" has become a term of opprobrium, frequently accompanied by ad hominem attacks and charges of arrogance and hubris. But the heat generated by the term also stands as a backhanded tribute, an acknowledgment that the neoconservative impact has been substantial. It is today too soon to offer a comprehensive assessment of that impact. The discussion of neoconservatism offered here has a more modest objective, namely, to suggest that one aspect of the neoconservative legacy has been to foster the intellectual climate necessary for the emergence of the new American militarism.

As a practical matter, the task of reinventing neoconservatism for a post-Communist world -- and of spelling out an "imperial self-definition" of American purpose -- fell to a new generation. To promote that effort, leading members of that new generation created their own institutions.

To read the full text, see

7:54 AM

The Normalization of War

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Blog editor's note: Bacevich, a writer who identifes himself as a cultural conservative, is a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, former contributor to such magazines as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, and former Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. This is the first exceprt from his new book, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War and is provided by The second excerpt will be linked in the next blog item.

At the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The skepticism about arms and armies that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamored with military might.

The ensuing affair had and continues to have a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue. Few in power have openly considered whether valuing military power for its own sake or cultivating permanent global military superiority might be at odds with American principles. Indeed, one striking aspect of America's drift toward militarism has been the absence of dissent offered by any political figure of genuine stature.

For example, when Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, ran for the presidency in 2004, he framed his differences with George W. Bush's national security policies in terms of tactics rather than first principles. Kerry did not question the wisdom of styling the U.S. response to the events of 9/11 as a generations-long "global war on terror." It was not the prospect of open-ended war that drew Kerry's ire. It was rather the fact that the war had been "extraordinarily mismanaged and ineptly prosecuted." Kerry faulted Bush because, in his view, U.S. troops in Iraq lacked "the preparation and hardware they needed to fight as effectively as they could." Bush was expecting too few soldiers to do too much with too little. Declaring that "keeping our military strong and keeping our troops as safe as they can be should be our highest priority," Kerry promised if elected to fix these deficiencies. Americans could count on a President Kerry to expand the armed forces and to improve their ability to fight.

To read the full text, see visible text for link here

7:53 AM

Wednesday, April 20, 2005  

Larry C. Johnson
The Counterterrorism Blog

According to its self-description, "The Counterterrorism Blog, a unique, multi-expert blog dedicated to providing a one-stop gateway to the counterterrorism community." The question for those interested in War, Peace and Mass Media is the degree to which the mainstream press covers the development discussed in the blog.

Just when you thought the Department of State could not top last year's debacle in failing accurately to count the number of international terrorist incidents, it appears that the State Department is going one step better--they reportedly have decided to not issue a report to the public. This move has been prompted by the Department's discovery that the new methodology used by the recently formed National Counter Terrorism Center has produced statistics that shows an enormous jump in the number of international terrorist attacks. For example, in 2003 there were about 172 significant attacks. The numbers for 2004 have jumped to at least 655. At least 300 of those incidents occurred in India in the Kashmir region. NCTC, I'm told, is still tweaking the numbers. For Secretary of State Rice these numbers are a disaster. It is tough to argue we are winning the war on terrorism when the numbers in the official Government report will show the largest number of incidents ever recorded since the State Department started reporting on terrorist incidents. In the Secretary's defense, however, the sharp jump in numbers has more to do with a change in methodololgy of counting rather that an actual surge in Islamic extremist activity. In fact, if you take time to parse the numbers, the actual scope of terrorism by Islamic extremists in 2004 appeared to decline relative to the attacks during 2003 (except for Iraq). Rather than run from the numbers the State Department and the Intelligence Community should seize the opportunity to really get their hands around the issue and provide Congress and the American people with a clear, apolitical assessment about the reality of the terrorist threat we face. (Note: the reporting requirement in 22 USCS is reprinted below.)

To read the full text, see The Counterterrorism Blog

10:07 AM

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