Journalism and Patriotism

"I believe it is vital to the interest of the journalist and the public alike that we engage in an urgent, forceful and consistent campaign to educate the public with the knowledge that in a democratic society the journalist is, in fact, exercising the highest form of citizenship by monitoring events in the community and making the public aware of them and their import; by skeptically examining the behavior of people and institutions of power; by encouraging and informing forums for public debate," writes Bill Kovach, North American representative and chair of the International Consorium of


Fear and Loathing in the Middle East

"I have seldom been lied to so blatantly in my life," Amit Pal, editor of the Progressive Media Project, writes from Egypt. "On June 20, we had a lunch meeting with Nabil Osman, who is the chairman of the State Information Service here. He assured us that censorship was a relic of the past in this country, having disappeared after the 1970s, and that the press was free to criticize anything or anyone, including the president.


The Treasonous Press

"I accuse the media in the United States of treason," says a State Department official in a Washington Post opinion piece. Dennis Pluchinsky, a senior intelligence analyst with the Diplomatic Security Service in the U.S. Department of State, goes on to propose that the American press be censored in its coverage of the war on terrorism. "If there were an 'Osama bin Laden' award given out by al Qaeda, I believe that it would be awarded to the U.S news media for their investigative reporting," he says. "This type of reporting -- carrying specifics about U.S.


Don't Touch the Priests

Tom Fox, publisher of the National Catholic Reporter, explains why it took more than a decade before journalists exposed the Catholic priest sex scandal. "We were seeing cases of this pedophilia stuff in a number of dioceses in a number of cities," Fox says. "The secular press wouldn't touch it because they didn't want to be seen as anti-Catholic, and the Catholic [press] wouldn't touch it because they weren't independent."


Medical Journals Under the Microscope

New studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association have found problems in medical journals involving biases and conflicts of interest. Other problems originate in news releases put out by the journals themselves, which routinely fail to mention study limitations or industry funding and may exaggerate the importance of findings. Dr.


Bad News Is Good News

Former reporters for the Taliban news service describe how they were ordered to inflate figures of civilian casualties from the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Casualty estimates today still range from a low of 1,000 to a high of around 3,000. Some of the former Taliban reporters are still at work, now for the new government. Mohammed Ismail Qanay "keeps a photo of himself from his days as a reluctant co-conspirator in the Taliban's propaganda factory, when he was required to wear the tunic and pantaloons, a turban and a flowing beard.


The Rise of Junk Journalism

The race for profits is undermining quality journalism, according to panelists at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). As publications cut spending and staffing levels in newsrooms, "Quick and cheap celebrity gossip, gruesome snippets on accidents and crimes, and fluffy features about cute pets usually drive out costly, complex reporting on politics and economics, creating the media equivalent of a sugary, junk-food diet," reports David Armstrong.



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