May
01
2003

When Journalism Becomes 'Terrorism'

Perle goes on offensive against investigative reporting

Senior Pentagon adviser Richard Perle abruptly announced his resignation on March 27 as chair of the Defense Policy Board, an influential Pentagon advisory panel. Not coincidentally, Perle had shortly before his resignation described the respected journalist Seymour Hersh as a "terrorist," and threatened to sue Hersh for libel in Britain. Pulitzer-winner Hersh’s report in the New Yorker (dated 3/17/03) on Perle’s messy finances became the first of a series of embarrassing stories that threatened Perle’s considerable access to power. It now looks as though Perle, frequently described as the chief architect of the war in Iraq, launched his counter-attack on […]

May
01
2003

When Journalists Attack

The Boston Herald's loose cannon

Boston Herald correspondent Jules Crittenden, who covered the Iraq War as an embedded journalist, is a writer whose blunt prose deals in absolutes: good vs. evil, life and death. But there's one dichotomy that Crittenden doesn't draw so clearly: reporter vs. participant. Frequently drawing comparisons between "embeds" such as himself and the troops with whom they travel, Crittenden seemed to have crossed the line and effectively became a combatant in the war he was assigned to cover. In a column Crittenden wrote for the Poynter Institute (Poynter Online, 4/11/03), he admitted that while the unit he was following was on […]

May
01
2003

Official Story vs. Eyewitness Account

Some outlets preferred sanitized version of checkpoint killings

When U.S. soldiers on March 31 killed 10 members of one family at a checkpoint outside the Iraqi town of Najaf, U.S. media initially presented the Pentagon's version of events--sometimes in terms that assumed that the Pentagon's word was truth. "What happened there, the van with a number of individuals in it...approached the checkpoint," reported MSNBC's Carl Rochelle (3/31/03). "They were told to stop by the members of the 3rd Infantry Division. They did not stop, warning shots were fired. Still they came on. They fired into the engine of the van. Still it came on, so they began opening […]