Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Understanding the Press Failure to Report Downing Street Memo

Thanks to Mark Danner once more for his candid exposure of the problem behind the unfortunate roll of the press in its deficient coverage of the Iraq war:

"The Downing Street memo serves, among other things, as a not very subtle reminder that much of the press was duped by the government in a rather premeditated and quite successful way. No one likes to be reminded of this, certainly not reporters and the institutions they work for; claiming the memo is "not reportable," in Smith's words, not only avoids revisiting a painful passage in American journalism but does so by asserting that the story "had already been covered" -- that is, that it had never been missed in the first place. When it comes to the war, much of American journalism has little more institutional interest in reexamining the past than the Bush administration itself."

Remember the tale of the emperor's new clothes? This is exactly how it worked. Any one who would admit of not seeing the invicible robe would be brand a fool by public opinion. That is how truth has slipped from the media's attention; how clear historical evidence of the deception leading to war is rather ignored than acknowledged.

If you have not yet read the Dowing Street Memo. You must.

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