Reporters Warned to Leave Baghdad

Defense Department officials are warning reporters to clear out of Baghdad, saying this war will be far more intense than the 1991 gulf war. "If your template is Desert Storm, you've got to imagine something much, much different," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon says it is warning journalists in the interest of their safety, but some critics see the heads-up as an attempt to control the news, with the goal of minimizing politically damaging images of suffering Iraqi civilians.


News Conference "Scripted," Reporters Silenced

Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and author of a regular feature "Ari & I: White House Briefings," was at George W. Bush's first primetime news conference in over a year and a half. He says, "Last night's [press conference] might have been the most controlled Presidential news conference in recent memory.


American Media Dodging U.N. Surveillance Story

An employee at England's top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been arrested following the London Observer's publication of a leaked U.S. National Security Agency memorandum written by a top official calling for "aggressive surveillance" of UN Security Council delegations.


A Question of Coverage

More than two dozen journalism school deans and professors, independent editors, journalists and authors have sent an open letter to major media editors, criticizing media coverage of Iraq and warning that "this is no time for relying solely on official sources and their supporters." Signers of the letter include: retired New York Times columnist Tom Wicker; former New York Times reporter William Serrin; Ben Bagdikian, former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley; author Studs Terkel; independent journalist and filmmaker Barbara Koe


Protests Move the Media

A new survey by Editor & Publisher magazine shows that "the growing rift at the United Nations and massive antiwar demonstrations around the globe appear to have had an impact. E&P now finds that a majority of top papers oppose any attack on Iraq without broad international support." Previous surveys in January also opposed President Bush's desire for a quick invasion, but pro-war editorials surged immediately following Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. in early February.


The Unseen Gulf War

During the first war in the Persian Gulf, U.S. citizens saw mostly sanitized images of smart bombs hitting non-human targets. Images of death and suffering were kept to a minimum, thanks in part to the military's pool system which controlled the movements and activities of most journalists. Photographer Peter Turnley refused to participate in the pool system and managed to get pictures that few people have seen. "Many people have asked the question 'how many people died' during the war with Iraq and the question has never been well answered," he writes.


Some Folks Might Say That's an Insult

Howard Kurtz reports that the New York Times has spiked a "My Job" column by Jeff Barge, a Manhattan public relations executive who described planting stories in major newspapers and blasted the PR industry as "a deceptive business" in which newspapers are fed "quotes that are just plain fabricated by the PR people." According to Times editor Judith Dobrzynski, Barge's piece was "too self-promotional." (The mention of Barge appears in the bottom half of Kurtz's column, under the subhead, "Unfit to Print.")


Muzzling the Media in Wartime

"If you put the First Amendment up for a nationwide vote, we're not so sure it would pass," reports Howard Kurtz. "When war breaks out, many folks believe that the people with pens and microphones should just get out of the way and let the soldiers do their jobs." According to a recent opinion poll, two-thirds of the public believes the government should have the right to stop the media from disclosing military secrets, and 56% say news organizations are more obliged to support the government in wartime than to question the military's handling of the war.



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