Moyers Probes Press and Iraq

But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, “I don’t think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war. We didn’t dig enough. And we shouldn’t have been fooled in this way.” Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about evidence for war, was asked by Moyers if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to “dig deeper,” and he replies, “No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas, nope, I don’t think we followed up on this.”

Instead he covered the marketing of the war in a “softer” way, explaining to Moyers: “I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light if that doesn’t seem ridiculous.”

Moyers replies: “Going to war, almost light.”

Greg Mitchell | Editor & Publisher

Bowing Down to Our Own Violence

When a mentally unstable person goes on a shooting rampage in the United States, no one questions that such actions are intrinsically, fundamentally and absolutely wrong. The media condemnation is 100 percent.

However — even after four years of a U.S. war in Iraq that has been increasingly deplored by the American public — the standard violence directed from the Pentagon does not undergo much critical scrutiny from American journalists. The president’s war policies may come under withering media fire, but the daily activities of the U.S. armed forces are subjected to scant moral condemnation. Yet, under orders from the top, they routinely continue to inflict — or serve as a catalyst for — violence far more extensive than the shooting sprees that turned a placid Virginia campus into a slaughterhouse.

News outlets in the United States combine the totally proper condemnation of killing at home with a notably different affect toward the methodical killing abroad that is funded by the U.S. Treasury. We often read, see and hear explicit media commendations that praise as heroic the Americans in uniform who are trying to kill, and to avoid being killed, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In recent decades, the trends of war have been clear. A majority of the dead — estimated at 75 to 90 percent — are civilians. They are no less innocent than the more than 30 people who suddenly died from gunshots at Virginia Tech.

Norman Solomon | CommonDreams