Buying the war

PBS Video

Journalists tend to treat every criticism of themselves as an attack on the First Amendment, but the fiasco of pre-war news coverage was hard to spin that way. Nor did the journalism establishment engage in much self-examination, but now that failure has been repaired. Last week’s blockbuster indictment on Bill Moyers’ Journal of news coverage of the Bush campaign for war in Iraq names reporters’ names and identifies corporate failures. Watching the inexorable slide into war past journalism’s laziness and cheerleading is like an agonizing slow-motion dream of falling off a cliff. It leaves some questions: Did we learn this time, or will we do it again?