There have always been dissenters opposed to America’s wars, most notably the war in Vietnam, where opposition undermined public support for the war and eventually forced the U.S. government to withdraw. The current anti-terrorism war enjoys very strong popular support, probably because it was undertaken in reaction to an attack against innocent civilians on American soil.
But there is some dissent against America’s tactics on the battlefield, treatment of prisoners, partial blackout on information from the fighting fronts, and degree of responsibility for inciting militant Islamic forces. Such dissent, of course, is in keeping with the right of free speech in an open society.
This twelfth program in the Brookings/Harvard Forum on Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism will examine how the news media have handled dissent against the war on terrorism. Have reporters exaggerated the level of opposition? Or, in an outburst of patriotism, have they acted as cheerleaders for the war? Have administration critics received fair coverage? Or have they been ignored and intimidated? A panel of experienced and insightful journalists and experts will discuss these and other aspects of media coverage of dissent against the anti-terrorism war.
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