The mainstream media did a sterling job of selling the war in Iraq to a frightened public. Very few journalists questioned government lies and military dishonesty. After all, if reporters don’t regard both these institutions as organs of disinformation, then perhaps they should work in North Korea (or the New York Times, the conservative blogosphere or the Republican Party. Oh wait, many of them do.)
In one revealing response, NBC anchor Tim Russert explains his reason for not raising sufficient doubts about what Dick Cheney and others were saying on his program: the skeptics weren’t calling him. “To this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them,” he told Moyers. Do major media figures like Russert really think they’ve done their job if they just wait around for critical sources to come to them? And the idea that NBC‘s Washington bureau chief didn’t have “access” to prominent skeptics like Scott Ritter and Daniel Ellsberg is just laughable.
Those poor little journalists, waiting for the call that never came. Russert’s lame excuse would undoubtedly be repeated across the Western world, including in Australia. And many of these same “commentators” and “experts” are still working, still making a living from discussing world affairs and the war in Iraq. With blood on their hands, at the very least, they deserve little better than a permanent holiday from their offices.