Watchdog Blog

Archive for April, 2007

Barry Sussman: War on Terror, a Culture of Fear, and the Press

In the better-late-than-never department, use of the phrase “War on Terror” is now getting a little scrutiny. Not much, perhaps, but some. It’s about time for such a development and editors and reporters should encourage it. They should, for one thing, ask national leaders what they mean when they say “war on terror” or “global [...]

Morton Mintz: Why Reporters Should Care About the Farm Bill

Is there a connection between legislation the press has pretty much ignored and why so many poor people have become obese? Why our children eat bad school lunches? Why huge amounts of private land are farmed and sprayed with chemicals that run off into our waters, rather than being left wild? Why two million Mexican [...]

Mary C. Curtis: Setting Priorities

When is a news story done, played out, way past its expiration date? What is the shelf life of an American media tale? News events are radioactive entities with half-lives determined primarily by when the next item comes along to displace the last one. The relative importance of the tale hardly matters. A diaper-wearing astronaut [...]

Saul Friedman: After the Prayer Vigils—Then What?

Has anybody noticed how good we are getting at holding memorial services, candlelight vigils, prayer meetings and funerals for dead young Americans? We’ve had a lot of practice. Since Columbine in 1999, I count 22 fatal school shootings in the U.S., including Virginia Tech. The mourning ceremonies continue as I write. In four years, more [...]

Morton Mintz: OK, Good Editorial. But Where’s the News Story?

That the New York Times Company, which owns the Boston Globe, would run a full-page ad in the Times saluting the Globe’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, Charlie Savage, was to be expected. But there’s cause not to salute the Times: It’s among the major news organizations at which commentators sometimes call [...]

Saul Friedman: Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

It seems that apologies, regrets, saying I’m sorry, are in fashion. For actors, comedians and glorified disc jockeys who can’t control their racism and antisemitism, as well as flip-flopping politicians. Former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards gets high marks for honesty when he admits he “made a mistake” in voting to authorize what [...]

Morton Mintz: Oversight by Congress and by the Press Disappeared Well Before Bush Took Office

In the better-late-than-never department, David S. Broder has condemned congressional Republicans for their sustained non-oversight of the Executive branch. “It was a fundamental dereliction of duty by Congress, and it probably did more to encourage bad decisions and harmful actions by executive-branch political appointees than the much-touted lobbying influence,” Broder wrote in the Washington Post [...]