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When "Doves" Lie

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  • ummyakoub
    When Doves Lie The New York Times plays down anti-war opinion by Jim Naureckas In a breakdown of major U.S. newspapers positions on the Iraq issue before
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2003
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      When "Doves" Lie

      The New York Times plays down anti-war opinion

      by Jim Naureckas

      In a breakdown of major U.S. newspapers' positions on the Iraq issue
      before the invasion began, the trade magazine Editor and Publisher
      (3/14/03) labeled the New York Times "strongly dovish," based on its
      stance in a March 9 editorial: "If it comes down to a question of yes
      or no to invasion without broad international support, our answer is

      But in its news coverage in the period before the invasion began on
      March 19, the New York Times played down opposition to war and
      exaggerated support for George W. Bush's Iraq policy--in ways that
      ranged from questionable to dishonest. (For earlier examples of the
      Times' minimization of peace activism, see Extra!, 11-12/01, 7-8/02;
      FAIR Action Alerts, 10/2/01, 5/30/02, 9/30/02, 10/28/02.)

      Take, for example, the March 14 article by Kate Zernike,
      headlined "Liberals for War: Some of Intellectual Left's Longtime
      Doves Taking on Role of Hawks." The article argues that "as the
      nation stands on the brink of war, reluctant hawks are declining to
      join their usual soulmates in marching against war." It cites seven
      people by name as "somewhat hesitant backers of military might"--
      every one of whom was actually on the record as having supported the
      1991 Gulf War.

      One of those said to have "joined the ranks of the reluctant hawks"
      was New York Times Magazine contributor Michael Ignatieff. Shortly
      before the Gulf War, Ignatieff wrote in the London Observer (12/9/90)
      that the U.S. secretary of state should show Saddam Hussein "a video
      demonstration of the shortest way to turn Baghdad into a car park.
      The dictator is a military man: The West must speak his language."
      Another of the Times' "longtime doves" was Paul Berman, who wrote an
      op-ed for the Times during the Gulf War (1/31/91) criticizing
      protesters for "mobilizing against the war in Vietnam" when Iraq
      represented "a dynamic, expanding Fascism, 1930's-style."

      Polls apart

      Or consider the paper's reporting of a poll on March 11-- headlined,
      in the paper's online edition, "Growing Number in U.S. Back War,
      Survey Finds." Actually, on the most direct question asked in the
      poll, "Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking
      military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from
      power?" the paper reported 66 percent in favor and 30 percent
      opposed, which was essentially unchanged from the last time the Times
      asked the question (2/10=12/03), when it found a 66/29 percent split.

      The story, by Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder, said that the poll's
      findings "signal that the nation may be moving toward the traditional
      wartime rallying around the president." The journalists did not
      mention the poll's finding that Bush's approval rating for his
      handling of Iraq was 51 percent--not statistically different from the
      53 percent found in February.

      "By many measures, the poll found that the nation is behind Mr. Bush
      on Iraq," Nagourney and Elder wrote. "And for all the signs of
      dissent and protest around the nation, it would appear that support
      for war is on the rise." But most questions showed no significant
      increase in support for an invasion; in one of two questions that did
      show a small jump, a 52-to-44-percent majority still opposed the
      position that might most accurately describe the Bush stance on Iraq:
      that the U.S. should "take military action against Iraq fairly soon,"
      rather than "wait and give the United Nations and weapons inspectors
      more time."

      Another example of the New York Times downplaying anti-war sentiment
      was its treatment of the New York City Council's 31-to-17 vote in
      support of a resolution opposing an immediate war against Iraq. Even
      if the story hadn't occurred in the Times' hometown, the most
      populous U.S. city voting for peace on the verge of the country going
      to war would seem to be important national news--particularly when
      the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center were
      repeatedly cited by Bush as a justification for war.

      Although its article on the vote noted that it was covered by "TV
      cameras from CNN and networks in Japan, Germany, Spain and France,"
      the Times evidently did not consider the story terribly important:
      Not only did it not make the front page of the paper, it didn't even
      make the front page of the Metro section--crowded out by a story on a
      merry-go-round restoration project, the story ended up on page B4.
      The article, by Nichole M. Christian, gave four paragraphs to quotes
      from supporters of the resolution and six paragraphs to the opposing

      After the invasion began, when more than 100,000 people in New York
      City demonstrated on March 22, it was front-page news the next day in
      the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. But the New York Times,
      whose offices are two blocks away from where the anti-war march
      started, placed the story on page B11.




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