News and Features
How bad can things get, how fast? Are we already at the point where
literally nothing can derail the war machine?
Let's say you have a war to sell. You have the usual public relations
tools at your disposal: highly scripted press conferences, stories
leaked by White House officials to a compliant press.
A generation ago, when I worked at the Washington Post, the
right-wing fringe occasionally referred to us as "Pravda on the
Potomac." We reporters were amused but also rankled.
War may or may not be inevitable, but a one-sided discussion of US
policy toward Iraq appears to be all but guaranteed on network
On June 4, 1961, John F. Kennedy held his last meeting with Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna.
The day before MSNBC announced that it was pulling the plug on Phil Donahue's nightly show, the man who pretty much invented talk TV was interviewing actress and author Rosie O'Donnell.
It's a fascinating scheme, "this very ambitious and aggressive embed
plan," as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Bryan
Whitman calls it.
Who's the hack? I nominate The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg.
He's the new Remington, though without the artistic talent.
Poor Endy Chávez, outfielder for the Navegantes del Magallanes,
one of Venezuela's big baseball teams. Every time he comes up to bat,
the local TV sportscasters start in with the jokes.
This article is based on a report originally produced for National
Public Radio's On the Media.
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