"If and when a press corps of 3000 to 5000 lands with the U.S. military in Iraq, should they be prohibited from broadcasting the war live, using their videophones and satellite dishes? Yes, under some circumstances, says Nightline anchor Ted Koppel."
"Do reporters know that so much medical news is actually unpaid advertising?" writes Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families. "The most effective industry influence is so well-hidden that many reporters and producers are totally unaware of it. The role of pharmaceutical companies and other health care industry interests in shaping news coverage of medical products and treatment is as invisible as it is pervasive."
"After the bubble burst, the [New York Stock Exchange] regulators decided that it was not nice for an analyst to tout a stock without mentioning that he owned the stock or that his employer was the company's investment banker. So they ruled that such conflicts had to be disclosed. Fair enough. But to whom? Many investors learn analysts' opinions not from reading brokerage reports but from news media reports. So the Big Board said that the firms had to make sure that broadcasters who quoted the analysts had to pass on the disclosure.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has joined a number of other health and science leaders in questioning the integrity of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (RTP), a "seemingly independent scientific journal" that hides "its authors' and editors' extensive financial ties to tobacco, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other industries. ... [M]any RTP papers are written by scientists from industry labs or by industry-paid lawyers and lobbyists.
"The model for me for someone in the public relations business is, to a certain extent, the U.S. military," journalist and Watergate legend Bob Woodward said in a keynote address to the Public Relation's Society of America's National Capital Chapter in Washington, D.C. PRSA's Strategist reports how Woodward, assistant managing editor of the Washington Post, defines the model PR professional. "The best sources for straight information were people in the U.S.
Former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett is angling to return to Iraq before the war starts this winter, writes Michael Wolff. This time, however, Arnett is freelancing for CameraPlanet, an indie news-production unit. Wolff sees Arnett as the last of a dying breed, as real war correspondents disappear and are replaced by famous talking heads like Geraldo Rivera or Christiane Amanpour.
Veteran journalist Helen Thomas is angered by the Bush administration's "bullying drumbeat" of war. "Where is the outrage?" she said in a talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Where is Congress? They're supine! Bush has held only six press conferences, the only forum in our society where a president can be questioned. I'm on the phone to [press secretary] Ari Fleischer every day, asking will he ever hold another one? The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul. ... I do not absolve the press. We've rolled over and played dead, too."
Award-winning journalist Gary Webb was hung out to dry by his newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, after writing "Dark Alliance," which showed how the CIA and drug dealers fueled the epidemic of crack cocaine in Los Angeles in the 1980s. As the first Internet-based expose in journalism history, it was seen by millions worldwide, but caused such a firestorm of controversy that the paper's editor later apologized and shut down the website to keep the stories from ever being seen again.
A University of Southern California shows that local television newscasts have been barely covering the 2002 campaign. As a result, candidates are forced to spend all their time "dialing for dollars" from big campaign donors so they can promote themselves through paid advertising. "They don't go to talking to people. They don't do the kinds of visits to public fora that they used to, because they know it's a total waste of time," says Martin Kaplan of USC's Annenberg School for Communication.