Sunday, October 19, 2003

Freedom of the Press

Iraq style:

IN BAGHDAD, OFFICIAL control over the news is getting tighter. Journalists used to walk freely into the city’s hospitals and the morgue to keep count of the day’s dead and wounded. Now the hospitals have been declared off-limits and morgue officials turn away reporters who aren’t accompanied by a Coalition escort. Iraqi police refer reporters’ questions to American forces; the Americans refer them back to the Iraqis. Reporters and government officials have always squabbled over access; but the news coverage of the messy, ongoing conflict in Iraq has worsened the already tense relationship between the press and the administration. American officials accuse reporters of indulging in a morbid obsession with death and destruction, and ignoring how Iraq has improved since Saddam Hussein was toppled. Reporters grumble that the secretive White House and Pentagon hold back just how grim and chaotic the situation really is.

NPR and CNN were just filled with "happy Iraqi children" stories all week. It's not that I object to these stories, but I object to their clear attempt to follow administration orders.

Don't forget to take the poll.