May We Have Independent Journalism Back Now, Please?

"America is four months into this crisis, and one comment about the course of events is now long overdue: the U.S. media have woefully mishandled their coverage of post-Sept. 11 developments," writes Andrew Stroehlein, who moderates a Poynter Institute online forum for journalists devoted to discussing media coverage of the war. "American journalists now consider themselves Americans first and journalists second, and the U.S. media thus take an uncritical approach toward U.S. government action, allowing themselves to become an arm of government policy." According to British journalist Paul Eadle, this reaction is understandable but dangerous "because it means there is no real debate over the exact nature of the threats that America faces and the most effective way of eliminating them." Without a strong, open debate on how best to guarantee its long-term security, Eedle warns, "America risks ending up like Israel--with overwhelming military superiority over its enemies but unable to stop a handful of determined people from inflicting terrible suffering on its citizens."