Preemptive War and the Dailies


In the Columbia Journalism Review, Chris Mooney, an occasional contributor to Reason, surveys press coverage in the run-up to the Iraq invasion and asks, "Did Our Leading Newspapers Set Too Low a Bar for a Preemptive Attack?"

Whatever your stance toward the war, this is an excellent piece of press criticism and well worth reading in full. After looking at the nation's major dailies, Mooney concludes,

None of the papers, in fact, held the Bush administration to an adequate standard of proof when it came to launching not just a war, but a preemptive war opposed by most of the world. Given the context of 9/11 and a climate of deference to the president on matters of national security, perhaps such questioning of presidential authority seemed inconceivable. Nevertheless, had the papers shown more skepticism, we might not have as much cause today to second-guess either the Iraq war itself, or the way leading editorial pages wrote about it.

Whole thing here.