Magazine article The Spectator

Iraq: Why the Media Turned

Magazine article The Spectator

Iraq: Why the Media Turned

Article excerpt

From Jonathan Mirsky Sir: William Shawcross ('Leaving Iraq would court disaster', 28 October) rolls out the stabin-the-back accusation that the media 'helps only those violent extremists' trying to destroy Iraq. But the media initially supported the war. Then Bush and Blair were caught lying and the realities of the war became apparent. The same happened in Vietnam.

Newspapers and television were once prowar. For many reporting the war, as I did in 1965 and 1967 (and Mr Shawcross himself did superbly), the realities changed the reporting. Nonetheless, the failed commander, General William Westmoreland, told me, 'The war in Vietnam is the first war in history lost in the pages of the New York Times.' But unlike Mr Shawcross, reporters in Iraq, where nearly 90 have died (more than in 20 years in Vietnam), know what's what. …

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