Friday, November 18, 2005

ISSUE: Why doesn't media cover the "facts" of war intelligence


As you read "The Elements of Journalism," consider this story unfolding right now. Some Democrats are charging Bush with misleading the country about intelligence leading up to the Iraq war. But Bush is countering that Democrats in Congress got the same intelligence briefings he did, and they voted for the war.

Kovach and Rosensteil would argue that it isn't enough to just report what Democrats are saying and what Bush is saying. They would say reporting "factings" requires going beyond assertion and getting "attribution" -- what was the intelligence? Did the same intelligence go to both the Congress and the White House? Was it some how presented or interpreted differently in each place?

A friend of mine wrote to me tonight: "I'm continually struck with the validity of the criticism that reportingtells us "he said/she said" but fails to inform us of the facts. The charge of the White House misleading Congress and people is an example. Would not good reporting summarize available facts as well as opinions to inform us on this issue instead of just printing the counter charges of political lying, etc that Bush et al are making against the Dems? I have printed this story but have not read it. Looks interesting."

Michael Massing | The End of News?

Michael Massing: The Bush administration has restricted access to public documents as no other before it. The restrictions have grown so tight that the normally quiescent American Society of Newspaper Editors last fall issued a "call to arms" to its members, urging them to "demand answers in print and in court" to stop this "deeply disturbing" trend. With the President's poll numbers down and infighting among conservatives more visible, the coverage of Washington has sharpened of late, but overall the climate remains hostile to good reporting.

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