When Wolfowitz Accused War Reporters of Cowardice

Editor & Publisher, May 17, 2007 | Go to article overview
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When Wolfowitz Accused War Reporters of Cowardice


After weeks of agony, Paul Wolfowitz, caught up in a scandal involving his girlfriend, finally quit his post as head of the World Bank late Thursday. Standing his ground, he failed to apology.

Such was not the case back in June 2004 after he accused war reporters in Iraq of being cowards.

At the time, he was denounced by journalists ranging from moderate Howard Kurtz to liberal Maureen Dowd, for implying during congressional testimony that war reporters in Baghdad were sissies who were "afraid" of a little gunfire and so stayed in their cushy enclaves printing "rumors."

Wolfowitz had told the House committee that "part of the problem" the United States faces in Iraq is that "a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors, and rumors are plentiful. Our own media have some responsibility to try to present a balanced picture, instead of always gravitating for the sensational."

On "Hardball," Campbell Brown asked Wolfowitz about the quote, after observing that during the 10 days she recently spent in Baghdad, numerous car bombs went off and three of her colleagues had been kidnapped in Fallujah.

Wolfowitz denied that he was "blaming the media," saying he only meant "the media picture seems to be unbalanced. And I'm not the only one who's saying it ... I'm not media-bashing.

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