Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunday Shows = Accountability Lost

If you're not doing accountability journalism, it's NOT journalism.   When it comes to Iraq, you don't see much journalism, just lots of yacking skulls and nodding heads.  

There's one short article, and one video every thoughtful citizen should check.   The article is in today's Huffington Post; the video is from years ago.  Both focus on the same problem, the failure of journalists to do their job. 

The headline on Michael Calderon's piece says it all:  

If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You're Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV


As the cheerleaders waved their pom poms for war years ago, one reporter who was going after facts and attempting to get at the truth instead of the spin was McClatchy's Jonathan Landay. He hasn't been on a single Sunday pom pom waving head up the government's butt program. 
  When journalism fails, bad things happen.
 This report from years ago from Bill Moyers demonstrates that.  Every citizen should watch Buying the War.   Every journalism professor should watch it.   Every member of the Washington Press Corps should watch it and then go out and buy a pair of steel toed boots to kick themselves in the ass. 

We had a war in Iraq for one primary reason.  Thousands of American soldiers died for one primary reason.  Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's died for one primary reason.   We have an unbelievable mess in Iraq for one primary reason:  American journalism failed.   Had journalists done their jobs, the American public would have known that Saddam's WMD capability was zero.  The weapons inspectors had determined that.  And as inspector Scott Ritter points out, the intelligence services in this country and the UK and Germany all knew that.  Had journalists done their jobs there would not have been a war in Iraq.   There was no threat of WMD, and there were sources available to provide that information.   And there were others doing some worthwhile reporting.   But when Walter Pincus did a great piece, the Post put it on page 18.   When the administration put out its spin, it was on page 1.    Think about that:  page 1 = spin, page 18 = some actual reporting. 

Unfortunately, most of the Washington Press Corps in the build up to the war had forgotten journalism 101.   They forgot journalism requires verification.   They forgot journalists demand proof. They forgot journalists require FACTS.    They forgot journalists are to be highly skeptical.   They played human microphone stand.   And on Memorial Day, they owe the country an apology.  

The current crop of Sunday Shows and Nightly Newscasts don't have to wait for Memorial Day; they should apologize now for not doing their jobs. 

When journalism fails, bad things happen.                                                                                 ###

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