The Media And The War

An interesting discussion about the relative performances of al-Jazeera and the Washington Post during the Iraq war. Money quote:

I asked both Mirazi and Wright to reflect on their media's coverage of Iraq.  Mirazi largely rejected criticisms of al-Jazeera and the Arab media in 2003 and beyond:  given how horribly Iraq turned out, if anything the Arab media wasn't critical enough of US invasion. He did say, however, that the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, should have been more of a moment of self-criticism for the Arab media:  how could it have been so mistaken in its reporting of the balance of forces and the military situation? Beyond that, however, he didn't seem to think that the Arab media had a lot of accounting to make for its performance in Iraq.  The biggest problem, he argued repeatedly, had to do with the continuing domination and ownership of the media by Arab regimes - as long as terrible, undemocratic governments controlled the Arab media, directly or indirectly, there would be harsh limits on its ability to really progress.

Wright admitted that the media performed poorly in the runup to the Iraq war, but offered the defense that at that time it was hard to challenge the official narrative….   She argued that the press would not likely repeat its mistakes in the face of a campaign for war on Iran….

But after that appropriately self-critical opening, Wright surprised me by offering a chillingly persuasive argument about how the rationale for war with Iran had shifted from the nuclear program to its role in Iraq...