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01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]
01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total per-capita costs]
01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]
01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]
01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less Great Again]
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01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]
01.18 Impeach Donald Trump
01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]
01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Bill Maher: If We Don’t Impeach President Donald Trump, Where Is The Bar? [9:49 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 With US 'Drilling Towards Disaster,' Report Warns Anything Less Than Urgent Green New Deal Will Be 'Too Little, Too Late' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump plans to relax Obama rules for oil companies put in place after BP disaster [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump's war on science: how the US is putting politics above evidence [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
01.16 Can Philadelphia 'stop people from dying' as drug crisis and gun violence rage on? [Whole country suffers from lack of effective federal policies... Seeing a pattern? P.S.: The answer is not a Wall!]
01.16 Why are more Americans than ever dying from drug overdoses? [graphs]
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01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
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01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]
01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
AN INCOMPETENT NEWS MEDIA CRITIC:
The Short, Happy Iraq War of Howard Kurtz
20 March 2009
In the heady days of "post-war" Iraq, Howard Kurtz went out of his way to criticize those journalists who didn't adopt Bush's short-sighted optimism about the "success" of the invasion.As the world marks the sixth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, corporate media's most prominent journalism critic is wondering if Barack Obama's Iraq policy isn't being sufficiently scrutinized. As Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz asked recently on his CNN program (3/15/09): "What about the previous president? I mean, he famously landed on that aircraft carrier, declared 'Mission Accomplished,' and we're still there. Could journalists be falling into the same trap of taking a president's word about Iraq at face value?"
It's a good question to ask-- but is Kurtz really the best person to ask it? In the heady days of "post-war" Iraq, Howard Kurtz went out of his way to criticize those journalists who didn't adopt Bush's short-sighted optimism about the "success" of the invasion.
In a column he wrote on April 14, 2003,* Kurtz congratulated the press for its coverage of the just-concluded Iraq War. The piece provides a useful guide to the conventional wisdom that guides not just journalism, but also the profession's most powerful internal critics.
Kurtz began, "It's been the best of times and the worst of times for journalists." On the negative side, "The worst because they nearly got submerged in a sea of second-guessing just days into the fighting." After remarking that "unnamed critics, it turns out, are never in short supply," he elaborated by citing some examples of apparently too-pessimistic reporting:
So journalists who were the right track--raising questions ("second-guessing") about whether the war would last "months," or noticing tensions between military commanders and Rumsfeld--were the "worst," according to Kurtz. He also stuck up for Dick Cheney, writing:
The arrogant blunder here seems to be all Kurtz's.
Kurtz recalled other highlights from the media's performance:
Of course, there was plenty of "anchor-gab" about the Jessica Lynch "rescue" and the Saddam Hussein statue, which were indeed more effective than leaflets dropped from planes--precisely because they were celebrated by the press corps in wildly exaggerated accounts rather than exposed as the propaganda stunts they were (London Times, 4/16/03; L.A. Times, 6/3/04).
There were other lessons to be learned, according to Kurtz, from the other short war the U.S. had just finished: "Were parts of the media too downbeat about the war's early setbacks? Sure. Trying to assess a war after a week or two is a high-wire act, as journalists learned after the infamous 'quagmire' pieces about Afghanistan." He elaborated:
Now comes the difficult part of the story--forming a government, rebuilding a shattered country, fending off suicide attacks--that lacks the obvious drama of toppling a brutal dictator. (Anyone seen a television report from Kabul lately?) Once the embedded reporters are liberated, it's all too easy to imagine the media drifting off to other obsessions while the future of Iraq is hammered out.
Kurtz was right about one thing, in retrospect: Corporate media did eventually "drift off" from Iraq--hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars later. In the meantime, that forgotten Afghanistan conflict is still underway, with more U.S. troops on the way.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
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This story was published on March 20, 2009.