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How the Press Can Prevent Another Iraq

Posted on Feb 5, 2007
Iranian Kool-Aid

Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin has put together a 10-point checklist to help journalists avoid drinking Bush’s Iranian-flavored Kool-Aid. The first point, in four parts, is below.

Nieman Watchdog:

You Can’t Be Too Skeptical of Authority

  • Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.

  • Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.

  • Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines. The absence of supporting evidence for their assertion—or a preponderance of evidence that contradicts the assertion—may be more newsworthy than the assertion itself.

  • Don’t print anonymous assertions. Demand that sources make themselves accountable for what they insist is true.

  • Read more

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    By Steve Hammons, February 6, 2007 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The American press, at least large portions of it, have been negligent at best in covering the maneuverings and manipulations of the Bush administration in leading us toward war.

    Some parts of the press have been propaganda mouthpieces and platforms for Bush, Cheney, the neocons and the war profiteers.

    With a direct link to the Iraq war, pending war with Iran and the “Scooter” Libby (Cheney) CIA agent leak trial, the journalism award given to former New York Times reporter Judith Miller is a case in point. See article below:

    Society of Professional Journalists’ Award to Judith Miller Helps Cover-Up?

    Steve Hammons
    American Chronicle
    October 27, 2005

    Report this

    By Richard, February 6, 2007 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    As a retired journalist, I should point out that following these guidelines is not as easy as it sounds. E.g., where do you get alternate information for every story? Also remember that TV news is driven by film, not journalism. It’s “bang-bang” in lieu of WWWWWH. Almost all of what the Bush administration spews—and what the press repeats—doesn’t pass the smell test. And what anonymous sources say aren’t stories, they lead you to stories.

    Here are some facts that I have deduced—despite our credulous Fourth Estate:

    The United States installed a puppet government in Iraq, so the “insurgents” are really resistance fighters. Why does the press use the Tony Snow term? The Iraqis want to be left in peace to exterminate each other.

    The excuses for invading Iraq were entirely fabricated. There was no evidence for WMDs or an al-Quaida connection. Why did it take so long for the press to stop characterizing this as a breakdown in intelligence? There was no intelligence involved. Dubya just wanted to one-up his daddy and oust Saddam. And Bush’s concept of reality is based entirely on John Wayne and kung fu movies.

    We’re losing the war in Iraq, and have been since “Mission Accomplished” was declared May 1, 2003.  Duh.

    Worst of all is the credulity of the press regarding the rhetorical, open-ended, generic “war on terror.” There hasn’t been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, or a credible conspiracy to commit one since then, either. Bush is using the war on terror as an excuse to concentrate as much federal power as possible in the executive branch, and to usurp our civil liberties. Every time I witness the media’s use of the term “war on terror,” I cringe—and hold the media culpable in the loss of my privacy and individual rights. When it comes time to write a Requiem for your own First Amendment, media people, where will you publish it?

    Report this

    By David, February 6, 2007 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    ‘Reporters’ are insecure people.  If you flatter them enough and make them think they are part of the ‘in crowd’, they will write anything you want them to write.  They all just luuuuuuuv Georgie, aint he cute when he stutters?  Trying to get them to actually do their job at this point is pointless.  Congress has no say, the population has no say, only Bush has say and he says nuke Iran.  Instead of hashing this out over and over again I’m stockpiling food and supplies.  It’s going to be a very sparce spring.

    Report this

    By anonymous, February 6, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Good reporters, at the very least, point it out when their questions aren’t answered and ask follow-up questions when they are.  It doesn’t happen anymore unless the person being questioned has little or no power.

    The best way to really know what a politician’s thinking is to figure out what it is they wouldn’t want to say and then count the number of words they need to answer a yes or no question.

    In Washington, they think facts are only true if you admit them.

    So far, the public is proving them right.

    Report this

    By Tom Weidermeijer, February 6, 2007 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Dan makes excellent points.  Will the mainstream media follow them?  Of course not. 

    They are not necessarily FoxNews, but conversely they are definitely not the fabled ‘liberal media’.

    I just really wish more of the mainstream media would challenge what this administration is saying.  They just seem to take everything hook, line and sinker… which leaves us sunk.

    Just like that old joke.  How do you know when this administration is lying to you?  Their lips are moving. 

    Yeah, I know it is an old joke, but applicable.

    Report this

    By George S Semsel, February 6, 2007 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Don’t be so naive, folks. The press is already in the hands of those in power. Only the Democrats in congress are less lacking in courage.

    Report this

    By Roy, February 6, 2007 at 6:24 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Too bad we don’t have a free press to put any of this into practice.

    Report this

    By Druthers, February 6, 2007 at 1:41 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    A good list but that is what a few public figures, many bloggers and voiceless people have been doing for years now.

    I do not think all these journalists and “pundits” spew their propagands because of ignorance; they are followers and sometimes leaders in these funeral endeavors.

    The dead, the wounded, the displaced persons, the children are “collateral damage” in their
    blood-soaked march toward their goals.

    Does anyone think they are going to “convert,”
    to discover the virtues of democracy and the existance of truth after flooding us with drivel?
    Our tin-horn Congress and preening press is perhaps just a mirror of what we are.

    It may be too late

    Report this

    By Outraged, February 6, 2007 at 12:38 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


    JUST THE FACTS. WE DON’T NEED OR WANT THE BULLSHIT.  Just the FACTS…the FACTS…the FACTS…the FACTS!  C’mon you wossies, the FACTS!  I’m really sick of these kiss ass, brown nosers!

    Is this article “CRITICAL REASONING 101” for the devoid of reason?  Do you think they’ll pass the test?  Whew, what a brain drain!


    This is not rocket science folks, Bugs Bunny has more humanity in his little finger than folks who buy this administrations “bull”.  Whoops, isn’t Bugs too VIOLENT for our children!

    Report this

    By HeadlessHessian, February 5, 2007 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Yeah like do what they use to do not that long ago…. Stick to the facts about a story…. No one cares about your opoinion, just the facts.  Don’t ‘FoxNewsIt’.  Keep it to the facts.  did I say Keep it to the facts.  PERIOD


    Report this

    By Quy Tran, February 5, 2007 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Don’t listen to Bush when he’s saying. Just keep seeing what he’s doing. Anything administration officials tell you is all LIE ! especially Bush/Cheney and all of his entourages.

    Report this
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