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, December 23, 2005  
SPECIAL REPORT: Original 'Embeds,' Three Years On, Discuss Iraq War Coverage, Then and Now

By Joe Strupp
Editor & Publisher
December 23, 2005

Blog editor's note: Strupp's belief that the embed system is here to stay is probably prescient, but with all due respect, I would argue it is neither new--nor a step forward. First, the approach is very close to the combat correspondent system of WWII, and second, then and now it produced, for lack of a better term, "homer" coverage, which is to say coverage of combat involving U.S. troops that's about as balanced or detached as that provided by TV "analysts" working for a given NBA team. At it's best, embed coverage provides little more than what I term "gun slit" journalism, or as others have called it, a view of action through a straw. At worst and most usually, it produces coverage that cheerleads for the home team.

NEW YORK Three years ago, a reporter using the term "embedded" most likely was referring either to some kind of medical condition or an e-mail attachment. But since late 2002, when the first plans were announced for military "embeds" to join troops headed for Iraq, the term has assumed an entirely new meaning.

For many of the more than 700 journalists who hitched a ride during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, life has changed drastically as well. As the first group of newspeople placed by the Pentagon in such large numbers alongside combat troops -- in exchange for agreeing to dozens of rules -- these reporters represented a historic shift in war journalism. Most of those who cover military conflicts and the officials who oversee them contend that embedding is a step forward, and here to stay.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

9:44 AM

Sunday, December 18, 2005  
The New York Times and the NSA's Illegal Spying Operation
Time-Delayed Journalism

December 17, 2005

Blog editor's note: This analysis by Cockburn and St. Clair is by far the most insightful I've read dealing with the decision of the New York Times to withold for a year news that the Bush Administration had been domestically spying on American citizens.

The first duty of the press is to obtain the earliest and most correct intelligence
of the events of the time, and instantly, by disclosing them, to make them the common
property of the nation. The statesman collects his information secretly and by secret means;
he keeps back even the current intelligence of the day with ludicrous precautions
The Press lives by disclosures For us, with whom publicity and truth are the air and
light of existence, there can be no greater disgrace than to recoil from the frank and
accurate disclosure of facts as they are. We are bound to tell the truth as we find it,
without fear of consequences--to lend no convenient shelter to acts of injustice or
oppression, but to consign them at once to the judgement of the world.

Robert Lowe, editorial, London Times, 1851.

Lowe's magnificent editorial was written in response to the claim of a government minister that if the press hoped to share the influence of statesmen it "must also share in the responsibilities of statesmen". It's a long, sad decline from what Lowe wrote in 1851 to the disclosure by the New York Times on Friday that it sat for over a year on a story revealing that the Bush administration had sanctioned a program of secret, illegal spying on US citizens here in the Homeland, by the National Security Agency.

And when it comes to zeal in protecting the Bill of Rights, between December 22, 1974 and December 16, 2005 it's been a steady run down hill for the New York Times. Thirty-one years ago, almost to the day, here's how Seymour Hersh's lead, on the front page of the NYT, began: To read the full text, see Counterpunch

7:29 AM

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