TUESDAY’S LETTERS: Brokaw, Rather, Fleischer, and the War

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By: E&P Staff

Letters are back! We had to refrain the past couple of weeks due to a change in staffing and massive workload, but the mailbox is again open and ready for transmission! So keep sending your notes to individual E&P writers OR to letters@editorandpublisher.com.

Pressing Issues: “Ari Fleischer Hits McClellan, Defends Press Coverage of Iraq”:

I want to thank you for being the first one to mention Helen Thomas in your Ari Fleischer piece on June 9. No one mentioned her strong and outspoken objections when Scott McClellan’s book first came out.

No one acknowledged how she was scorned and humiliated because she wanted real answers about the war. Mr. Fleischer and Mr. McClellan wouldn’t answer HER questions. She also wondered why the others reporters didn’t ask follow-up questions when she was shot down.

— P. Snelling

Albert Camus risked his life to write editorials and stories for Combat newspapers during the occupation of Paris, and yet American journalists maintain that they did their best during the run-up to the Invasion of Iraq.

In the editorial for Sept. 8, 1944, Camus wrote that two contradictory stories could be presented side by side but the journalist “could enlighten his readership on the amount of credibility to be accorded to certain information, knowing that information came from a specific press agency or foreign bureau. There is no doubt that among the myriad bureaus maintained abroad by the press agencies before the war, only four or five could be depended on to provide the truth required by a press fulfilling its proper role. Thus the journalist, better informed than the rest of the public, must use information that he knows to be questionable with the greatest reserve.”

Sounds like he wouldn’t have approved of Fox News.

“At least one thing is obvious: information as provided to the newspapers, and as the newspapers use it, cannot do without critical commentary,” Camus wrote. “This rule could improve the entire press.” (Camus obviously did not clear this with Bill O’Reilly.)

— Bob Patterson

Dan Rather Hits Press Coverage of War — and ‘Corporate News’

I wasn’t at the conference, but from reading the transcript of Rather’s
comments, it’s rather skimpy on his sharing personal details about the
apparent failure of media during the run-up to the Iraq war. Also, I didn’t mean to disparage your summary of Rather’s comments, or to point out that it was without merit, but it seemed to me that some critical analysis is necessary, since without it, you’ve just got stenography.

— Jon Garfunkel, Boston

Pressing Issues: “Tom Brokaw’s Disturbing Defense of the Media and Iraq”

Dear Sir, thank you for the article. I’m hoping that the words from Mr. Brokaw you cite absolutely destroy his credibility among anyone that can read or understand English. Even in a nation like ours where manipulating the unintelligent is a reliable way for the powers-that-be to maintain and increase their power.

Dan Allen, Los Angeles

Your column on Tom Brokaw is right on target, as all of your columns on Iraq and the U.S. media have been.

As an American journalist living and working in Europe, I was opposed to the Iraq war from the start and never believed any of the excuses for war employed by the Bush administration. I could not understand how journalists could be so uncritical. Even up to now, we aren’t getting any real information on what is really going on in Iraq, or Afghanistan, either, as no one is really trying to uncover any truths.

— Dede Williams

Once Bush leaves office (and I think it’s started already) there will be a great desire on the part of war supporters and enablers to disappear our recent history. Please continue to raise your voice against this.

I am most of the way through Greg Mitchell’s book. I’m impressed – I spent most of those years reading bloggers for informed commentary and did not follow E&P. I will now. So few in the MSM even recognized what was going on, you should feel proud you did your job.

— Dan Gallagher
Lancaster, PA

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