Media Follows Patriotic Spirit

By By U Wire

By U Wire

SOUTH BEND, Ind.?The American media has shared the country?s patriotic sentiments as it follows the country’s steps toward a war. But these media outlets have spent little time on whether or not the country is taking the right course of action.

?You haven?t seen a lot of diversity in perspective from mainstream corporate media outlets,? said Jennifer Pozner, women’s desk director at FAIR who has focused on anti-Arab bias coverage and censorship in the press. ?In general, the overview has seemed in lockstep with the White House and what that line has been. You haven’t seen a lot of variation.?

In an act deemed patriotic by Condoleezza Rice, White House national security advisor, the five major television news organizations reached a joint agreement on Wednesday to abridge any future videotaped statements from Osama bin Laden or his followers if the government deems the language inflammatory.

These networks include ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, MSNBC, the Cable News Network (CNN) and the Fox News Channel.

Local and national newspapers and TV media have not been very critical of the government’s actions, said Sam Husseini, communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy.

?Most of CNN?s news coverage is going from one government news conference to another. That already takes out a substantial chunk of what they?re doing,? he said. ?They?ll cover the press briefing with Ashcroft and Powell, and when Bush says something, they?ll cover that. Then they?ll have their correspondent talk about what you heard. They hardly bring in a policy critic to scrutinize what the government has just said.?

The people who could talk about demilitarization, peace, international law tribunals and the ways the world deem as appropriate means for bringing terrorists to justice have not been very visible?with few exceptions, said Pozner.

?Look at the people they?re sourcing. The people who get quoted and who are writing op eds are military workers, people who are higher ups in government and people who worked for the CIA in the ?80s,? she said.

Greg Downey, assistant anthropology professor, would elaborate and conclude that the media is under the same pressure that most Americans are in.

?Questioning the administration?s policy is treated as though one is questioning the existence or the justice of the United States,? he said. ?Saying that we should talk about this is akin to saying that the terrorism is justified.?

Pozner agreed.

?You become very quickly judged unpatriotic if you don?t follow the government’s party line in times of war. Nothing can be farthest from the truth. It’s journalists’ primary function to inform the public and give the public sufficient information,? she said. ?Critical, independent journalism?that?s not only important, but it?s also patriotic.?

Many print and TV media groups have not been very critical of the administration.

?Media was pulling the politicians into more radical positions because the interviewers wanted more radical positions and more clearer language to report,? said Downey. ?When John McCain was interviewed, he said that we need to really just look at this [terrorist attack]?and he?s a war veteran. But the reporters kept saying, ?don?t we have to show these people that we’re still strong??

In light of the country?s recent decisions to bomb Afghanistan, little criticism has been aroused across the country.

?Even in op-ed pages, you haven?t seen a real debate about what the Bush policy is,? Husseini said.

However, Husseini would say that the media coverage has been surprisingly sterile.

?There was some human side, but I was surprised how detached some of the journalists were,? he said.