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, October 22, 2005  
The Source of the Trouble

(Subhead: Pulitzer Prize winner Judith Miller’s series of exclusives about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq—courtesy of the now-notorious Ahmad Chalabi—helped the New York Times keep up with the competition and the Bush administration bolster the case for war. How the very same talents that caused her to get the story also caused her to get it wrong.)

By Franklin Foer
New York
June 7, 2004

For critics of the Iraq war, the downfall of Ahmad Chalabi occasioned a hearty, unapologetic outpouring of Schadenfreude—a loud cheer for a well-deserved knee to the administration’s gut. In fact, it was possible to detect a bit of this spirit on the front page of the New York Times. On May 21, the editors arrayed contrasting images of the banker turned freedom fighter turned putative Iranian spy. Here he is smirking behind Laura Bush in the House of Representatives gallery as the president delivers his State of the Union address. There he is looking bleary and sweaty, after Iraqi police stormed his home and office in the middle of the night. An analysis by David Sanger went so far as to name names of individuals who had associated themselves with the discredited leader of the Iraqi National Congress. The list, he wrote, included “many of the men who came to dominate the top ranks of the Bush administration . . . Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Douglas J. Feith, Richard L. Armitage, Elliott Abrams and Zalmay M. Khalilzad, among others.”

The phrase “among others” is a highly evocative one. Because that list of credulous Chalabi allies could include the New York Times’ own reporter, Judith Miller. During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein’s ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by Chalabi and his allies—almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.

To read the rest of this critical profile of Miller and her career, see New York

4:17 AM

Paper Chastened
At the wounded Times, fallout from the Judy Miller saga

by Sydney H. Schanberg
Press Clips
The Village Voice
October 18th, 2005

(Blog editor's note: Schanberg won a 1976 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.)

I was a copy boy, reporter, editor, and columnist at The New York Times for more than a quarter-century, and like many of its alumni, I care a lot about what happens at and to the paper. Though I have occasionally criticized the Times on some issues, I admire it as the nation's leading newspaper, warts and all. It is still looked to as the standard-bearer of the profession's ethics and reporting principles. Now, its role as journalism avatar and watchdog of government abuses has again been wounded, in part by its own lack of managerial supervision. And that means that journalism in America has been wounded.

In the wake of the Wen Ho Lee and Jayson Blair failures, the Times is in another embarrassing situation, this one about a national security reporter, Judith Miller, who felt she was above the rules and even called herself—facetiously, she claims—"Miss Run Amok."

The Times' own account of this drama—5,800 words of frank, stark, unsparing reporting that ran on page one in Sunday's paper—painted exactly that picture of Miller, a tenacious and driven reporter who was a loose cannon.

To read the rest of Schanberg's commentary, see Village

4:07 AM

After 'NY Times' Probe: Keller Should Fire Miller--and Apologize to Readers

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

As the devastating Times article, and her own first-person account, make clear, Miller should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism -- and her own paper. And her editor, who has not taken responsibility, should apologize to readers.

(October 15, 2005) -- It’s not enough that Judith Miller, we learned Saturday, is taking some time off and “hopes” to return to the New York Times newsroom. As the newspaper’s devastating account of her Plame games -- and her own first-person sidebar -- make clear, she should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism, and her own newspaper. And Bill Keller, executive editor, who let her get away with it, owes readers, at the minimum, an apology instead of merely hailing his paper’s long-delayed analysis and saying that readers can make of it what they will.

To read the rest of this analysis by the Managing Editor of E&P, see Editor & Publisher

3:43 AM


Blog editor's note: I've been travelling abroad for the past five weeks and as a result, this blog has been "quiet." The noise shall resume as of today. A lot has happened during its silence, but perhaps the most important developments involve Judith Miller of the New York Times. (See following posts)

3:39 AM

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