Singapore Media Watch

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In Focus: Objective Journalism and its role in society (Part 3)

Rethinking Objective Journalism

By Brent Cunningham, Columbia Journalism Review. Posted July 9, 2003.

In his Mar. 6 press conference, in which he laid out his reasons for the coming war, President Bush mentioned al Qaeda or the attacks of Sept. 11 fourteen times in fifty-two minutes. No one challenged him on it, despite the fact that the CIA had questioned the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and that there has never been solid evidence marshaled to support the idea that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11.

When Bush proposed his $726 billion tax cut in January, his sales pitch on the plan's centerpiece -- undoing the "double-taxation" on dividend earnings -- was that "It's unfair to tax money twice." Over the next two months, the tax plan was picked over in hundreds of articles and broadcasts, yet a Nexis database search turned up few news stories (notably, one by Donald Barlett and James Steele in Time on Jan. 27, and another by Daniel Altman in the business section of The New York Times on Jan. 21) that explained in detail what was misleading about the president's pitch: in fact, there is plenty of income that is doubly, triply, or even quadruply taxed; and these other taxes affect many more people than the sliver who would benefit from the dividend tax cut.

Before the fighting started in Iraq, in the dozens of articles and broadcasts that addressed the potential aftermath of a war, much was written and said about the maneuverings of the Iraqi exile community, the shape of a postwar government, and the cost and duration and troop numbers. Important subjects all. But few of those stories, dating from late last summer, delved deeply into the numerous and plausible complications of the aftermath. (Read more...)


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