There's no doubt that the sex scandal that prompted CIA director David Petraeus's sudden resignation late last week is a big story. New details–verified or not–seem to arrive almost by the hour. But the reason it seems to have shaken so many media figures is because Petraeus was uniquely beloved by many in the corporate media, who considered him both an accessible source and a war hero. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called him (11/9/12) a "a man of such sterling reputation," and confided on the air to one guest that "it is impossible to be a member of […]
Alarmist corporate media coverage of the "threat" from Iran is everywhere, thanks to a Senate appearance yesterday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But Clapper said very little in his remarks that would justify the propagandistic coverage we're seeing. His main point was that Iran could launch attacks if it felt threatened. It is hard to see how this is particularly surprising. Clapper pointed to the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. as evidence that Iran seems more eager to assert itself, perhaps even inside the United States. But there were many people who […]
The New York Times (11/13/11) had a Sunday Style section profile of ABC Pentagon correspondent Martha Raddatz that started off on a bad note–only to get much worse. First the bad: If there has been a glamour beat in television news in recent years, it may well be war correspondent. Starting with the original "Scud Stud," Arthur Kent of NBC in the 1991 gulf war, conflict reporters, including the current slate of Richard Engel (NBC), Lara Logan (CBS) and Ms. Raddatz's ABC colleague Alexander Marquardt, have become news media celebrities not just for acting fearless but for looking fabulous. You […]
Today's New York Times has a story by David Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland running down the exaggerations and misinformation that have been spread throughout the Libya War. There's been "spin from all sides," they report. Gadhafi's exaggerations are well-known, but this passage is rather striking: Still, the rebels have offered their own far-fetched claims, like mass rapes by loyalist troops issued tablets of Viagra. Although the rebels have not offered credible proof, that claim is nonetheless the basis of an investigation by the International Criminal Court. And there is the mantra, with racist overtones, that the Gadhafi government is using […]
Afghan president Hamid Karzai denounced once again U.S./NATO airstrikes that killed civilians. In this recent incident, 14 were killed, including 11 children. This prompted ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (5/31/11) to call in ABC reporters to sort things out, leading to this exchange with Pentagon reporter Martha Raddatz: SAWYER: He's talking to the Afghan people. But Martha, he put restrictions on what U.S. troops can do, what the NATO troops can do. How onerous are these? RADDATZ: Well, he's trying to put restrictions on. I mean they simply have to carry out air strikes over there. It's a very […]
David Ignatius of the Washington Post (12/29/10): I've seen Petraeus give many briefings over the years, and it's a bit like watching a magician at work. Even though you've seen the trick before, and you know the patter, you still get mesmerized. He has the ability to make people believe the impossible might be doable, after all. That sounds bad, but then I remembered this from ABC's Martha Raddatz (6/23/10): A warrior and a scholar, Petraeus is sometimes jokingly referred to as a water walker, since almost everything he touches seems to turn to gold. Joke's on us, I guess.
On the October 22 broadcast of ABC World News With Diane Sawyer,the anchor weighed in on the WikiLeaks Iraq War documents by noting, "Arab television is already trumpeting the revelations." Not exactly a promising start, but the correspondent Martha Raddatz did a pretty good job of conveying the findings: hundreds of Iraqi civilians killed at checkpoints, thousands of unreported civilian deaths and torture of detainees. Then the report went back to Sawyer for a follow-up question: "I know there's a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha. But tell me, anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?"
From ABC World News, 11/11/09: CHARLIE GIBSON: We understand he's raising new questions about a number of plans that are in front of him. What new questions are there to be asked after all this time? MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, you would think he'd be through with the questions, Charlie. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times (11/15/09): Barack Obama is in danger of giving deliberation a bad name. David Broder, Washington Post (11/16/09– headline: "Enough Afghan Debate") It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the […]