The job of journalism during times of war is to question every governmental decision and ideally pull it apart. Governments lie, especially when lives are at risk.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, the vast majority of journalists blindly accepted government spin. For this reason along, the many mea-culpas currently doing the rounds are even more nauseating. David Gergen, the former Bush/Clinton/Reagan aide, has now acknowledged the obvious:
There was a sense, in the lead-up to the war, in which the press, I think, was guilty of cheerleading. We were waving the flags and it was almost unpatriotic to question the possibility of war with Iraq. And then during the time of the invasion itself, when the reporters were embedded, you know, many of them fell in love with the military and I think they reported very accurately.
But there was no question that they were swayed by what they had seen. But since they have been there, I do think the press has been on the cutting edge, been the leading indicator of saying it’s not going as well as the administration says. And for those that think that the press is being too harsh, we now have the leak of the Hadley memo this week, which shows, within the administration itself, there’s a real difference between what they’re telling each other internally and what they’re saying publicly.
His choice of words is intriguing. The majority of journalists are clearly so supine and unthinking that any path other than complete obedience to the state is unimaginable. Just like Soviet times, in fact.
Of course, if you’re the editor of the Wall Street Journal, the Bush administration is still doing a sterling job in Iraq.