Peter's Peace Platoon

ABC's Crusade Against "Arrogant" American Power

Conclusion: Recommendations for Improved Coverage

     • Reporters should seek a balance of arguments and a balance of skepticism in covering both the United States and allies and international organizations. The American people should expect skepticism in coverage of the White House, but they also expect skepticism in presenting the United Nations and difficult allies like France. All of these actors played a crucial role in the pre-war debate, and merited journalistic skepticism of their positions, motives, and in the case of the UN, their ability to function as a cohesive organization.

     • Untrustworthy enemy claims should not be given equal weight with the statements of American officials. The free American media should be extremely dubious of the self-serving claims of an enemy dictatorship. Journalists are at their worst when they hammer away at the legitimacy of the government which grants them their freedoms at the same time they’re presenting credulous Potemkin-village propaganda reports from a dictatorship. At the bare minimum, U.S. and Iraqi claims should be submitted to a similar acid test of truthfulness.

     • The American people deserve a fuller picture of the “peace” movement. The newsworthiness of protesters should not be determined according to their “mainstream” attractiveness. Who are the leaders of the protest movements, and what are their beliefs? What statements are made in podium speeches, not just from average Americans marching down the street? What are the policy consequences if their wishes were fulfilled? Protest leaders deserve as much scrutiny of their ideology, motives, and financial support as our governing leaders receive.

     • The American people deserve a fuller picture of network polls. Network pollsters should ask straightforward polling questions without loaded language. Network reporters and anchors should do straightforward reporting on the results, and avoid playing hide-and-seek games with poll numbers that might aid politicians and causes they don’t like. Tricks like these encourage public skepticism about network pollsters and poll reporting.