Dissent: Public Opinion, Media Reaction

December 2003
Nieman Reports;Winter2003, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p71
The article focuses on the risk of dissent in a journalist as having one's patriotism questioned. Dissent is so crucial to U.S. democracy that its spirit was written into the First Amendment to the constitution. People in a democracy have an inalienable right to express their dissent, their disagreement or disgust with a government policy and the government in response cannot or should not take any step to curtail dissent even if it is tempted to do so. Critics who were very reluctant after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., for fear of seeming to be unpatriotic. The administration knows that the post-war reality of Iraq does not make for pleasant reading or viewing and it does raise serious doubts about U.S. policy. President George W. Bush has been unhappy about news reports from Iraq that often highlight the negative and rarely accentuate the positive. There is, a rising chorus of dissent against the President's policies. Critics might argue that there is not enough dissent, that the administration has been suffocating dissent, but it exists. With the serious problems in Iraq and with the economy hovering between recovery and continuing uncertainty, the Bush administration no longer fully controls the message nor the news.


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