A Documentary Examines Cable News War Coverage

Reedy, Margie
December 2003
Nieman Reports;Winter2003, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p87
The article examines the objectivity of 2003 U.S.-led war coverage in Iraq by cable news networks, highlighted in a documentary film "Cable News Goes to War." The major broadcast networks had always been the go-to places in times of crisis, but during the Iraq War, the number of viewers for the cable news networks tripled. The war coverage was a microcosm of the fiercely competitive ongoing war raging among the all-news cable networks over journalistic ethics and allegations of political bias. Most correspondents from Fox News Channel delivered straightforward, accurate reports. They offered blatant endorsements of the decision to go to war and verbally attacked antiwar protesters. However, when it comes to objectivity, the question is always the truth as seen through whose lens. The debate about fairness in the war coverage intersects with the controversy about whether mainstream news organizations have a political basis and color their reports accordingly. There is a claim that other news outlets attack Fox's journalism because they disagree with their politics and are jealous of their success. Those predisposed to seeing the networks as either left wing, have a fundamental disagreement about the role of journalism in the society.


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