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From the Publisher"It is perhaps a truism to note that the Bush administration's greatest domestic ally in his effort to invade Iraq was the US media, which consistently failed to question even the most outrageous and, often, demonstrably false assertions and insinuations about the danger posed by Saddam Hussein coming from administration figures and their congressional supporters. In addition to documenting this miserable performance, Dadge explores some of the explanations for the media's behavior, including media corporate consolidation, government pressure, and patriotic self-censorship stemming from the 9-11 attacks. In the end, he somewhat surprisingly concludes that the media is capable of reforming itself, so long as it develops a new skepticism towards government and supports editorial independence."
Reference & Research Book News
"Also author of Casualty of War: The Bush Administration's Assault on a Free Press (CH, Sep'02, 41-0601), Dadge (International Press Institute, Vienna) here faults US media for failure to report the facts of the Iraq war. Supporting his argument with an imposing array of data, the author cites as mitigating reasons for this inept performance jingoistic patriotism, self-censorship, subtle pressures from the Bush administration, and an inability to confirm intelligence information. The bottom line: the Fourth Estate failed in its fundamental role to inform the American people fully and fairly of the facts of the nation's venture into invasion and war. Dadge points out that the press has been derelict before—in the Spanish-American War, WW I, and Korea—but he argues that never before has an administration managed to control news on such a scale. The efforts of the Bush ideologues were abetted by the press itself, which was muted by self-inflicted credibility problems and timidity to voice dissent and criticism. The author's prescription for improvement: the media must adopt a new skepticism for government and return to journalism's basic tenets, independence and accountability. Otherwise, a growing public apathy will further erode First Amendment rights in the US. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."