Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Press != Stenographers for Governments

ThinkProgress notes a non-NBC news organization's attempts to explain why they aren't calling the war in Iraq a civil war:
Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, Washington Post national security reporter Dana Priest explained that her newspaper does not use the phrase “civil war” to describe the current violence in Iraq in part because Iraqi government officials say it is not a civil war.

Priest said she “absolutely” believes the “level of violence [in Iraq] equals a civil war.” But she acknowledged that the Post has “not labeled it a civil war,” explaining, “We try to avoid the labels, particularly when the elected government itself does not call its situation a civil war.”

Government officials in Iraq have a direct interest in avoiding the characterization of violence there as a civil war. The Washington Post’s job is not to act as stenographers for officials in positions of power, but rather to report facts as they exist on the ground.

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