Arianna Huffington slams media coverage of war in Iraq
Just back from listening to Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, at the BBC.
In between some interesting comments on the American election and her citizen journalism project, â€˜Off the Busâ€™, she thought sheâ€™d spend a bit of time telling assembled journalists how much of a disaster she thinks the Iraq war has been.
Iraq is an “unqualified catastrophe”, she said, “the most grave mistake of American foreign policy ever.”
And she didnâ€™t spare American journalists from the fiasco: “the coverage of Iraq has been one of the most tragic moments in American journalism”.
She criticised journalists for supporting the 2003 invasion arguing that “the American mainstream media enabled the lead up to the war by becoming the stenographers to power”.
Huffington wasnâ€™t convinced that journalists were doing a much better job today either (with the exception of Michael Ware at CNN).
In spite of recent reports suggesting the American troop surge has improved the security situation, she accused journalists covering Iraq of ignoring the facts on the ground and erroneously reporting progress as a â€œmixed bag”.
(She likened “mixed bag” reporting to a brain tumour patient who reports “a mixed bag” diagnosis because the doctor also tells the patient that his acne has cleared up.)
“It’s a civil war”, she concluded.
Photo: By Robin Hamman and shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from his Flickr.
Update 20 June
More coverage on this:
1. Arianna Huffington on the talk and her London tour.
2. Soon to be former-BBC journalist Robin Hamman.
3. Richard Sambrook, Director of Global News at the BBC.
4. A few more of my thoughts from the talk on aspects of journalism.