Press Self-censorship in Iraq

Today in USA Today is a column about how the press failed their journalistic duties by failing to ask the hard questions of the Bush administration during the war on Iraq. It includes this quote from Christiane Amanpour:

Said Amanpour: “I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I’m sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did.”

To bring things into even starker relief, here is this quote from the Fox News spokesperson:

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour’s comments: “Given the choice, it’s better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda.”

Dear god in heaven above! Fox views this as a simple “fer us or agin us” dichotomy – either carry water for the Bush administration by not pursuing the truth or be in the pocket of al-Qaeda. Fox apparently does not care whether or not they fulfill the basic duties of journalism, presenting the truth to the public. Irena Briganti also appears to not realize that there still is no substantive ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

I cannot understand why anyone expects any reasonable reportage from this news organization. At least Amanpour has the decency to feel ashamed for failing to pursue the ethical journalistic path and seek the truth. Fox is damn delighted to report whatever they are told to, because to do otherwise would be in the pocket of terrorists. That sound is my TV, going “click” permanently on that channel.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.