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
Wednesday, December 07, 2005  
Military Misleads Press, Families, About How 10 Marines Died Last Week in Iraq

By E&P Staff
Editor & Publisher
December 06, 2005

NEW YORK Why did the U.S. military mislead the media and the families of ten Marines killed near the Iraqi city of Falluja while "on patrol" last week about how they were killed? The military announced on Tuesday that it actually happened at a "promotion" ceremony and they were not on foot patrol as initially reported.

Families of the victims immediately raised questions about the incident and it was unclear whether the site had been properly swept for explosive devices.

The Marines were in a disused flour mill on the outskirts of the city to celebrate the promotion of three soldiers, a military statement said on Tuesday.

As the ceremony ended, the Marines dispersed and one of them is thought to have stepped on a buried pressure plate linked to explosives that caused the devastating blast.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

8:25 PM

Media Fell Short in Covering 9/11 'Report Card'
Has September 11 fatigue set in? A high-level report declares that the U.S., while fighting terrorists abroad, has not done nearly enough to keep us safe here at home. Surely it has dominated front pages all week? Not exactly.

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

(December 06, 2005) -- The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001 -- you remember them. Cost nearly 3,000 American lives and haunted the families of the victims. Traumatized the nation. Damaged our economy, led to a new cabinet department and the controversial Patriot Act. Gave the new U.S. president, who was foundering in the polls, almost unprecedented power and popularity. Led directly to a war against Afghanistan and overthrow of the government there. Led almost as directly to the invasion of Iraq, then a continuing war and occupation that has cost another 2,000-plus American lives and countless billions of dollars in expenditures.

September 11 is unquestionably the major American event in recent decades and the terrorist threat to our homeland is the issue of our time. So you would think that when the official and much-respected commissioners charged with studying the tragedy and offering advice on preventing another such attack released a report card on whether the government, four years later, is fully doing its job to keep us safe, it would deserve banner headlines and massive and continuing television coverage -- especially if the grades were poor, with five “Fs” and a dozen “Ds” out of 41 categories.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

9:44 AM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005  
Rumsfeld Urges Optimism on Iraq

By Daniela Deane
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 5, 2005

Blog editor's note: Sec Rumsfeld is using the same "attack the messenger" strategy that U.S. policymakers employed during the dark days of Vietnam. It may work in the short run, but odds are that the reality of Iraq will trump any such efforts in the long.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld today urged Americans to be more optimistic about the situation in Iraq, saying that people on the ground there have more optimistic views than what is being portrayed in the U.S. media.

Rumsfeld, speaking at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, delivered a blistering attack on the U.S. media, saying that in the present 24-hour news cycle, events in Iraq can be reported too quickly and without context.

He said there was a "jarring contrast between what the American people are reading and hearing about Iraq and the views of the Iraqi people." The Iraqi people and the U.S. military deployed in the country, he said, were optimistic about the progress of the war there.

"Which view of Iraq is more accurate?" Rumsfeld asked. "The pessimistic view of the so-called elites in our country or the more optimistic view of millions of Iraqis and some 155,000 U.S. troops on the ground?

"A lie moves around the world at the speed of light," Rumsfeld said, "while truth is still trying to get its boots on." He referred to the recent story in the U.S. media that private contractors working for the U.S. military had paid Iraqi media outlets to carry optimistic stories about the war.

To read the full text, see Washington Post

10:52 AM

Sunday, December 04, 2005  
Odom: Want stability in the Middle East? Get out of Iraq!

Gen. William Odom (ret.)
The Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project
November 11, 2005

Blog editor's note: It has been argued that only some Democrats and "liberal" journalists believe the U.S. can't win in Iraq. Not so, as the analysis of retired Gen. William Odom reveals. In his last piece for, retired Gen. William Odom argued that all the terrible things the Bush administration says would happen if we pulled our troops out of Iraq are happening already. In a new postscript, Odom writes that the converse is true as well: Bush says he wants to bring democracy and stability to the greater Middle East -- but in fact the only way to achieve that goal is to get out of Iraq now. Odom's arguments are particularly worth considering insofar as he headed the National Security Agency under President Reagan. (The NSA, of course, is at the apex of the American security apparatus.) The Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University includes the forum where Odom's essays appeared, "Watchdog! Questions the Press Should Ask".

To read the full text of Gen. Odom's most recent piece and links to his earlier essay, see Neiman Watchdog

9:45 AM

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