"Embedded" U.S. Journalists and Their Media Outlets Provide a Distorted View of Iraq War
Interview with John MacArthur, publisher of Harper's magazine, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
In the months leading up to the U.S. war in Iraq, America's corporate media outlets provided intensive coverage of President Bush's failed campaign to win international support for invasion, but with what many critics characterize as a lack of scrutiny of the administration's justification and motivation. While U.S. allies around the world rejected White House evidence of Iraqi covert weapons programs as exaggerated or bogus, America's press corp. dutifully reported government pronouncements, asking very few tough questions.
Since the war was launched, branded "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the Pentagon, corporate television networks have featured unprecedented live reports from the front lines using the latest video satellite technology. Unlike the first Persian Gulf War 12 years ago, the Pentagon has allowed reporters to accompany U.S. troops in the field of battle by "embedding" them with specific combat units while subjecting their dispatches to military censorship. But as American soldiers encountered stiffer resistance than expected and U.S. bombs and troops killed and injured a growing number of Iraqi civilians, much of the press continued to cheerlead for the Pentagon and minimize critical reporting.
John MacArthur reviewed the U.S. media's conduct during the 1991 war with Iraq in his book titled, "Second Front, Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War." which described how the White House easily manipulated public opinion through the use of propaganda and with the eager collaboration of a compliant press corps. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, who assesses the performance of U.S. corporate media in covering America's ongoing war in Iraq.
John MacArthur's book, "Second Front, Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War," is published by University of California Press. Visit Harper's magazine Web site at www.harpers.org
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, www.fair.org
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