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
Tuesday, March 21, 2006  
Iraq -- U.S. News Media's Waterloo

By Robert Parry
Consortium news
March 20, 2006

Blog editor's note: Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, and he is author of the 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

For more than three decades, the U.S. news media has been living off – or living down, depending on your perspective – its Watergate-era reputation of helping to unseat a power-abusing President and exposing a raft of other political scandals.

But the U.S. media’s debacle over Iraq – failing to seriously question George W. Bush’s case for invasion and often acting as pro-war cheerleaders as the casualty lists lengthened – has dealt a death blow to that 30-year-old mythology. The bloody spectacle of Iraq has become the Waterloo of Washington’s “Watergate press corps,” its crushing defeat.

Even the nation’s preeminent news outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, were sucked into the fiasco, shattering the trust that many Americans had placed in their “free press” as a vital check and balance on Executive power.

To read the full text, see Consortium News

12:22 PM

On 3rd Anniversary: Editorials Dither While Iraq Burns
Anyone who hoped that this landmark would inspire the country's leading newspapers to finally editorialize for a radical change in war policy has to be disappointed, again. Calling for "urgent diplomacy" is about as strong as the proposals get.

By Greg Mitchell
Managing editor
Editor & Publisher

Blog editor's note: Editor & Publisher is the 'bible" of the newspaper industry. You may have to register for free to view this item.

(March 19, 2006) -- Anyone who hoped that the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq would inspire the country’s leading newspapers to finally editorialize for a radical change in the White House’s war policy has to be disappointed, again. From this evidence, the editorial boards of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Knight Ridder collective, and others appear to be as clueless about what to do as are Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld.

Reading the editorials, which mainly call for more of the same, puts you in a time warp: They could have been, perhaps were, written one year ago, maybe two. There's always a "turning point" to count on, from the transfer of power to this-time-we-mean-it-we-are-really-forming-a-unity-government.

To read the full text, see Editor & Pulisher

12:10 PM

Sunday, March 19, 2006  
Three Years On: Survey Shows Misinformation on Iraq Endures

By E&P Staff
March 17, 2006 10:15 AM ET

Blog editor's note: Students in my War, Peace and Mass Media course are advised to go to this link, print out the article and add it to my piece, "A Debate Denied...," in the supplementary reader.

NEW YORK Despite one official finding after another, debunking the involvement of Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, nearly one in four Americans continue to embrace that notion. And nearly 6 in 10 are fairly certain, contrary to most evidence, that Iraq did have WMDs before the war started.

A Gallup poll released today, conducted March 10-12 on a wide range of war-related issues, found that 39% still believe Saddam was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. Shortly before the war began, 51% held that view, but that was before the many official, and media, reports to the contrary. Yet a high number still cling to the view.

Previous surveys have revealed that about the same number or more falsely believe that some of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis.

In a similar vein, Gallup reports today, "Though no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after the invasion, today 57% of Americans express some degree of certainty that such weapons or programs to develop them were in Iraq just before the fighting began -- 29% feel definite about it, and another 28% think the weapons were there, though they have some doubt." Another 22% say Iraq "might have had" WMDs.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

7:42 PM

Cost of Iraq war could surpass $1 trillion
Estimates vary, but all agree price is far higher than initially expected

By Martin Wolk
Chief economics correspondent
Updated: 7:25 p.m. ET March 17, 2006

One thing is certain about the Iraq war: It has cost a lot more than advertised. In fact, the tab grows by at least $200 million each and every day.

In the months leading up to the launch of the war three years ago, few Bush administration officials were willing to comment publicly on the potential costs to the United States. After all, no cost would have been too high if the United States faced an imminent threat from an Iraq armed with weapons of mass destruction, the war's stated justification.

In fact, the economic ramifications are rarely included in the debate over whether to go to war, although some economists argue it is quite possible and useful to assess potential costs and benefits.

In any event, most estimates put forward by White House officials in 2002 and 2003 were relatively low compared with the nation's gross domestic product, the size of the federal budget or the cost of past wars.

To read the full text, see

7:40 PM

Predictions of a better Middle East have evaporated three years after invasion

By Warren P. Strobel and Hannah Allam
Knight Ridder Newspapers
March 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - Three years after the United States invaded Iraq in pursuit of a freer, more stable Middle East, the country's deepening ethnic conflict is spreading tension across Iraq's borders, fueling terrorism and nurturing gloom about the future.
President Bush cited Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to international terrorism - neither of which turned out to exist - when he ordered a pre-emptive war that began March 19, 2003. He predicted payoffs for the wider Middle East: spreading democracy, deterred enemies, more secure oil flows, a less hostile environment for Israel.
None of that has happened, at least not yet.

Instead, said officials and analysts in the United States, Arab countries, Israel and Europe, the invasion has produced a vortex of unintended consequences.

Militancy is on the rise. Terrorists are using Iraq as a training base and potential launch pad for attacks elsewhere, according to U.S. officials and documents. Democratic reform remains largely stymied.
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and especially the Reserves and National Guard, are feeling the strain of repeated deployments. Public support for the war is declining in America and almost nonexistent elsewhere. The war has cost more than 2,300 American lives, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that its total financial cost may exceed $500 billion.

To read the full text, see Knight Ridder Washington Bureau

7:36 PM

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