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, December 17, 2005  
Speculation Builds Over Why 'NYT' Put off Bush Spying Scoop

Editor & Publisher
December 16, 2005

Blog editor's note: This is not the first time the New York Times has held or downplayed an important story at the request of the White House. Perhaps the most famous example is the decision to bow to a request by JFK's administration to downplay news of the impending Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba in 1961. Obviously, the Times has yet to learn its lesson in such matters.

WASHINGTON President Bush has personally authorized a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, a senior intelligence official told The Associated Press Friday night.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post said in a Saturday article that The New York Times' revelation yesterday that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct domestic eavesdropping "raised eyebrows in political and media circles, for both its stunning disclosures and the circumstances of its publication."

The Times has said that it held off publishing the article for a year, explaining that the White House had asked the paper not to publish the story at all, "arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny."

To read the full text, see Editor &

8:24 PM

Tuesday, December 13, 2005  
The Bogus Blurring of Terrorism and Insurgency in Iraq

By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 12 December 2005

With public support for the Iraq war at low ebb, the White House is more eager than ever to conflate Iraq's insurgency with terrorism. But last week, just after President Bush gave yet another speech repeatedly depicting the US war effort in Iraq as a battle against terrorists, Congressman John Murtha debunked the claim. His refutation deserved much more news coverage than it got.

"You heard the president talk today about terrorism," Murtha told reporters at a December 7 news conference. "Every other word was 'terrorism.'" Speaking as a lawmaker in close touch with the Pentagon's top military leaders, he went on to confront the core of the administration's current argument for keeping American soldiers in Iraq.

"Let's talk about terrorism versus insurgency in Iraq itself," Murtha said. "We think that foreign fighters are about 7 percent - might be a little bit more, a little bit less. Very small proportion of the people that are involved in the insurgency are terrorists or how I would interpret them as terrorists."

Murtha threw cold water on the storyline that presents US troops as defenders of Iraqis. He cited a recent poll, commissioned by Britain's Ministry of Defense, indicating that four-fifths of Iraqis now want the American and British forces out of their country. "When I said we can't win a military victory, it's because the Iraqis have turned against us," Murtha said.

Contrary to what countless pundits still contend, Murtha sees the US presence in Iraq as a boon, not an impediment, to terrorism. "I am convinced, and everything that I've read, the conclusion I've reached is there will be less terrorism, there will be less danger to the United States and it'll be less insurgency once we're out," he said. "I think the Iraqis themselves will turn against this very small group of Al Qaeda. They keep saying the terrorists are going to control Iraq. No way."

To read the full text, see

7:48 AM

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