TITLE

Just the Facts

PUB. DATE
April 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;4/14/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 14, p7
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Last Friday morning, after a week of increasingly tough questioning from the White House press corps, a "senior administration official" took reporters aside to inform them that U.S. President George W. Bush found many of their questions "silly." The president was experiencing "some level of frustration with the press corps for accounts questioning the war strategy," the official explained. Not surprisingly, the conservative media was quick to take up the president's brief. To the extent reporters were questioning war strategy, they were largely reporting criticism by current and former Pentagon officials. Former Gulf war Commander Barry McCaffrey turned up in multiple news accounts complaining that the Pentagon had not allocated enough troops and firepower for the conflict in Iraq. During the 1991 Gulf war, for example, the media followed the Pentagon's lead in grossly overhyping the Patriot missile's success at shooting down Iraqi Scuds. It was only after months of postwar investigation that the military finally conceded that it could cite only a handful of examples of a Patriot hitting its target. War is as confusing as it is violent, and a certain amount of misinformation is inevitable. But, by any objective calculation, this administration has enjoyed more favorable coverage than any military public affairs officer had a right to expect. Which suggests that what the administration's defenders want isn't thoughtful questioning; it's no questioning at all.
ACCESSION #
9453923

 

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