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
Thursday, November 03, 2005  
‘Mouse journalism’ is the only way we can report on Iraq — Fisk

By Matthew Lewin
Press Gazette
October 13, 2005

The Independent's famously intrepid Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk has revealed that the situation in Iraq is now so dangerous that he doesn't know whether he can go on reporting from the country.

Fisk, who has previously accused colleagues of practising "hotel journalism" in Iraq, said that "mouse journalism" is now the best he can do in the country.

Fisk, whose new history of the Middle East, The Great War for Civilisation, has just been published, described mouse journalism as the practice of popping up at the scene of an event and staying just long enough to get the story, before the men with guns arrive.

Speaking at a bookshop in Golders Green, he said: "You cannot imagine just how bad things are in Iraq.

"A few weeks ago, I went to see a man whose son was killed by the Americans, and I was in his house for five minutes before armed men turned up in the street outside.

"He had to go and reason with them not to take me away. And this was an ordinary Baghdad suburb, not the Sunni Triangle or Fallujah.

"It has got to the stage where, for example, when I went to have a look at the scene of a huge bomb in a bus station, I jumped out of the car and took two pictures before I was surrounded by a crowd of enraged Iraqis.

"I jumped back in the car and fled. I call that ‘mouse journalism' — and that's all we can do now.

"If I go to see someone in any particular location, I give myself 12 minutes, because that is how long I reckon it takes a man with a mobile phone to summon gunmen to the scene in a car.

To read the full text, see Press Gazette

7:01 AM

Wednesday, November 02, 2005  
What Judy forgot: Your right to know

Robert Scheer
Los Angeles Times
OpEd column
November 1, 2005

Blog editor's note: Scheer is one of this country's finest investigative reporters and has every reason to be wary of judicial pressures on the news media, yet argues here that the Judy Miller case was something quite different.

THE MOST intriguing revelation of Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's news conference last week was his assertion that he would have presented his indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby a year ago if not for the intransigence of reporters who refused to testify before the grand jury. He said that without that delay, "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

Had that been the case, John Kerry probably would be president of the United States today.

Surely a sufficient number of swing voters in the very tight race would have been outraged to learn weeks before the 2004 election that, according to this indictment, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff — a key member of the White House team that made the fraudulent case for invading Iraq — "did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice."

It is deeply disturbing that the public was left uninformed about such key information because of the posturing of news organizations that claimed to be upholding the free-press guarantee of the 1st Amendment. As Fitzgerald rightly pointed out, "I was not looking for a 1st Amendment showdown." Nor was one necessary, if reporters had fulfilled their obligation to inform the public, as well as the grand jury, as to what they knew of a possible crime by a government official.

To read the full text, see Los Angeles Times

6:35 AM

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