Skip to main content

Reporting on the Iraq War. How accurate?

A new book takes a close look at the triumphs, challenges and regrets of reporters working to cover the first three years of the Iraq war.

There seems little doubt, now, that the way the Iraq War has been reported has been less than either accurate or fully truthful. Just the practice of embedding journalists with the army has seen a less than objective reporting of what has been happening on the ground. And then there is the valid criticism made by people like Robert Fisk that those reporting from Baghdad do so from the confines and safety of a hotel room.

As Alternet reports in a piece "Reporting Iraq: Journalists' Coverage of a Censored War":

"The late British journalist James Cameron, known for his coverage of the Vietnam War, said of his journalism, "I may not have always been satisfactorily balanced; I always tended to argue that objectivity was of less importance than truth." Perhaps in times of peace, objectivity naturally hews closer to truth. But when leadership misleads (or, euphemisms be damned, lies to) the public, journalists bear a greater responsibility. "Reporting" can all too easily translate into providing a megaphone for intentionally misleading information.

It is these issues that are at the forefront of Reporting Iraq: An Oral History of the War by the Journalists Who Covered It. Comprised mainly of interviews with over 40 journalists who covered the war, Reporting Iraq offers a candid view of the difficulties and complexities of working in an environment so hostile to reporters.

In one episode Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post recalls the difficulty of getting any relevant information from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA): "Well, off the record," CPA advisor Dan Senor told him, "Paris is burning, but on the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq." Such double-speak motivated reporters to take great risks to find the facts -- and spurred a wartime environment where journalists have now come to rely heavily on Iraqi stringers who, unlike western reporters, are able move more freely around the country. Reporting Iraq takes a close look at the triumphs, challenges and regrets of reporters working to cover the first three years of the occupation of Iraq."


Popular posts from this blog

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…