The War in Iraq and why the Media Failed Us

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - History - 193 pages

Polls show that a sizeable portion of the American population believes that troops found WMD in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein was somehow responsible for the attacks of September 11. Even after the 9/11 Commission Report and numerous other reports have concluded that our intelligence was flawed, people in the freest nation on earth continue to be misinformed about something that could not be more vital to understand--the reasons for sending troops into harm's way. This insightful analysis argues that the media should have done a better job of performing its traditional role of skeptic and watchdog, and it examines what went wrong.

There are, of course, many people whose support for going to war in Iraq was not contingent on the existence of WMD or a connection to al-Qaeda. But many others based their support for the war on misinformation. Dadge explores why the media did not aggressively investigate the claims made by the administration and intelligence agencies; in short, why they did not do their job: to fully inform the citizenry to the best of their ability. He examines pressures from the Bush administration, pressures from corporate consolidation of media ownership, patriotism and self-censorship, and other factors. He concludes with recommendations for ways in which the media can improve their reporting on government.

 

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Contents

1 The Road to Awe
5
2 When President Bites Watchdog
25
The Arms Length Principle
41
4 All Quiet on the Home Front
61
5 The Prison the General and the Flexible Broadcaster
79
6 Concentrating on Bias
97
7 Mea Pulpa
113
8 Reintroducing the Skeptics Test
125
Conclusion
143
Notes
153
Bibliography
167
Index
183
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About the author (2006)

David Dadge is Editor of the International Press Institute in Vienna and author of Casualty of War: The Bush Administration's Assault on a Free Press (2004).

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