Media on Terror

September 11, 2003

NPR’s Bob Edwards talks to Stephen Hess and Marvin Kalb on the book they edited called The Media and the War on Terrorism.

Bob Edwards: The al Qaeda attacks two years ago spotlighted the best and worst in journalism. The [word not understandable] coverage was praised as a model of informed reporting. Since then, and with the continued conflict in Iraq, critics say too many news organizations are back to their old habits, ignoring world affairs in favor of tabloid stories.

Bob Edwards: A new book addresses post-9/11 coverage. The Media and the War on Terrorism was edited by Marvin Kalb and Stephen Hess, who held panel discussions with journalists, government officials, and scholars. They say the Pentagon declares the embedding of journalists in Iraq with military troops a success. Marvin Kalb says that’s because that phase of the conflict was just three weeks long.

Marvin Kalb: If the war had gone on…if things had gone terribly wrong in Iraq, from the point of view of the U.S. military, would this whole embedding idea have been regarded as a success? There is a question right there; I think a very large question.

Bob Edwards: Stephen Hess?

Stephen Hess: The enbedding process as it happened in Gulf War II, it was criticized for “Were the journalists now cheerleaders?” And that’s a very serious question…

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