This was the day that the United States began its 2003 air attack on Iraq. The ground part of the operation started one day later. The first phase of the war would last for more than eight years and kill thousands of American soldiers. Hundreds of thousandsIraqi civilians during the U.S.’s attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government.
Nineteen year later, Americans witness as Eastern Europe becomes engulfed by conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin began a large-scale invasion in Ukraine last month. Reports are frequentOf innocent people being killed StrikesOn Urban spaces.
The headlines about the horrors of the Ukraine conflict have been reminiscent of those that were published in the aftermath the war in Iraq. There is a distinction between reporting about a conflict from coverage that tends more towards activism. The Iraq War saw the former approach being taken by journalists who claimed objectivity. As establishment journalists push for an interventionist U.S. strategy in Ukraine, it is worth paying attention to these tried and true hawkish tendencies.
In ConferenceOn March 15, journalists pressed Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, with questions about the opposition of the Biden administration to military support for Ukraine. There were over one dozen questions mentioning military assistance—including five distinct mentions of a no-fly zone—and only one question about the potential American role in facilitating negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
The numerous questions regarding military assistance were not based on fact. “Zelenskyy along with other Ukrainian officials made it clear that the main thing they needed was more warplanes, fighter jets. The U.S. is assessing something completely different. AskReporter. “Why is the U.S. so sure they understand better what Ukraine requires than what Ukrainian officials claim they require most?”
It is wild! pic.twitter.com/CNZZ1wVzcz
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 16, 2022
Journalists have been taking a cautious turn in both old-guard media outlets, and at conferences. Adam Johnson, Substack Columnist, wrote this week “Attacking Democrats from The Right: Faux Adversarial Sweet Spot For U.S. Journalists“Having compiled many recent examples from the conflict-hungry media, Richard Engel from NBC News is one of them. callingThe withdrawal from Afghanistan is the “worst capitulation by Western values in our lives” according to CNN’s Jim Sciutto AskingA spokesperson for the State Department explains why the U.S. won’t “shoot Down the [Russian]Bombing hospitals by planes” The New York TimesPeter Baker includes a Raytheon member’s comment about the Afghanistan withdrawal. Later, he laments that Biden could not find a compromise in Afghanistan and suggests that he would consider escalating or ending the war.
This instincts invariably tinge mainstream media coverage of conflicts and provoke public sentiment. It’s time to ask tough questions and to cover the Peabody-baiting television coverage. WritesJohnson said that Johnson’s statement “all of these just so happen to track with forces of increased militarism.”
The role of the hawkish media in shaping public opinion was significant during the Iraq War. Reporters helped to justify the war. Other views were rare and few. The common criticism of the Iraq-era press was that “it had been too slow to subject government claims to scrutiny—indeed, that it had amplified official assessments in advance of the war and given them credibility,” as Atlantic‘s Cullen Murphy WriteIn 2018. The New York TimesJudith Miller, and other journalists at establishment outlets PropagatedFalse information regarding Saddam Hussein’s regime including allegations that it had weapons of mass destruction. (Miller for her part, however, was later). A book was published defending the mistakes she made in her coverage—”not because I lacked skepticism or because senior officials spoon-fed me a line.”)
It was clear that the conflict in Iraq was different from the Russian invasion, so the U.S. has a new role. While the U.S. does not direct the fight in Ukraine, there aren’t as many American soldiers on the ground there as in Iraq. Reportage from the Iraqi era was largely focused on a Politics PubliclyThis is sanctioned violence. This makes the activist media unique in their concern during this conflict. In general, the current journalists align their questions with an American path of increasing militarism when it comes Ukraine.
Members of the Establishment Press are positioned in “the faux adversarial sweetness spot”, attempting to counter what the American public has largely rejected. CBS News/YouGov poll asked respondents what they thought of a no-fly zone “if it’s viewed as an act of war”—which it necessarily Would be in the Ukraine-Russia conflict—62 percent opposed it. It has been ruled out by the Biden administration as part of their American response.
The American press isn’t speaking truth to power by pushing in less-than-objective ways the matter of direct military involvement in Ukraine—an idea that both the power and the people it rules have rejected. It is not playing an informational role, asking for the same war-related information from a “self-admitted” source.168th” occasion.
It is not the responsibility of the establishment media outlets, nor the journalists writing for them, to have led to the disaster that was the Iraq War. It is the governments that wage war, and not journalists. They are to blame for perpetuating falsehoods and ignoring the fact that balanced reporting may have rendered restraint more desirable. While they are playing a pivotal role in America’s responses to the Ukraine crisis, they have a disturbing behavior: They relentlessly harass officials who try to communicate the risks of intervention in the name of balanced national safety coverage.