Thursday, March 11, 2004


Yeah, I don't know what it stands for either (CISSM), but I've heard of them before - I think they might be doing something right. They've just released a report on the sloppy media coverage on 'WMD' during the runup to the War on Iraq. They've done a 100-page report and a condensed/summarized 30-page report. Here are the major findings, as pulled from the summarized report:

  1. Most media outlets represented WMD as a monolithic menace, failing to adequately distinguish between weapons programs and actual weapons or to address the real differences among chemi-cal, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons.

  2. Most journalists accepted the Bush administration’s formulation of the “War on Terror” as a campaign against WMD, in contrast to coverage during the Clinton era, when many journalists made careful distinctions between acts of terrorism and the acquisition and use of WMD.

  3. Many stories stenographically reported the incumbent administration’s perspective on WMD, giving too little critical examination of the way officials framed the events, issues, threats, and policy options.

  4. Too few stories proffered alternative perspectives to official line, a problem exacerbated by the journalistic prioritizing of breaking-news stories and the “inverted pyramid” style of storytelling.

When you're a hard-core lefty - you know, you believe in telling the truth, human and civil rights, etc - reports like these become blasé after a while. It becomes easy to say oh, is that another report telling me something about who lied to Bush, how Bush lied to the American people, how Powell sold his soul to the devil, how there were no WMDs since 1994, etc.? Well, just tearing through this brief report was very interesting. MUST TAKE TIME TO READ. I could tell from a quick glance that it had some pretty special stuff in it that I've not yet read anywhere else. Tough to do these days...