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Iraq/Israel Independent leader policy

 
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to/from Dejevsky
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Post Post subject: Iraq/Israel Independent leader policy Reply with quote

In your leader of January 3, 2004 you wrote:

"While not the principal reason for the American-led invasion, as it was for Tony Blair, the threat from weapons of mass destruction supposedly possessed by Saddam Hussein certainly formed part of President Bush's case for war."

I had to read this over a few times because I couldn't believe you could write such an outrageous falsehood. What an insult to the intelligence of your readers. The threat posed by Iraq's WMD was clearly the principal reason Bush offered for invading Iraq. Read his state of the union speech of January, 2003!

If anything, Bush emphasized the threat even more than Blair.

The weapons weren't found so now the media must pretend that finding WMD wasn't the primary justification given for the war.

You live in a country where the penalities for telling the truth do not involve prison, torture or death - ceratinly not for mainstream journalists; yet you sink to a level dishonesty that one would expect from journalists living under Saddam Hussein.

Regards,

Joe Emersberger

Dejevsky replies:


sorry not to reply sooner. i was away - and didn't write that leader! i
tend to agree with you and would not have expressed it quite so
categorically, but i think the perception here (in the UK) is that bush
went to war unashamedly to oust saddam, whereas blair dressed it up with
wmd, and stands or falls by whether they find them, whereas bush doesn't.

regards, mary dejevsky

Dear Mary Dejevsky,

Thanks for replying.

I thought you were the diplomatic editor and chief leader writer on foreign policy and would therefore written this leader. Sorry for the mistake. Please tell me who did write the leader.

The Bush administration offered many versions of their reasons for going to war, especially since the failure to discover WMD, but their principal accusation before the war was always that Saadam possessed significant quantities of WMD. There is no excuse for getting that wrong.

It is fair to say that Bush has not suffered as much political damage as Blair due to the failure to find WMD, but that is a separate matter. It has to do with the level of misinformation prevalent in the US which in turn has to do with the servility of the US media and other factors.

After the war a third of the US public believed that WMD had been found and 20% actually believed they had been used! (poll results published June 4, 2003 by the Program on International Policy Attitudes). Polls have also revealed that half the US public believes Saddam was personally involved in the 9-11 bombings and that Iraqis were among the hijackers.(NYT, March 22, 2003).

Though Blair has had a rougher time than Bush due to the missing WMD, they have both been well served by the media. They have both killed thousands of Iraqis without any credible pretext; they arm countless murderers around the world; yet they stand a decent chance of being re-elected. They should be worried about avoiding prison, not losing elections.

Regards,

Joe Emersberger


i do write most of the foreign policy editorials, it is just that i was
away between christmas and now.
we are all reading paul o'neill's comments with interest!

regards, mary dejevsky

Dear Mary Dejevsky:

I apologize again if you did not write the January 15 leader about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you did not please direct these questions to the person who did.

Why were the Palestinian suicide bombers alone referred to as "terrorists? Why not Sharon and his administration? Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have doucumented in great detail that civilians are targeted by Israel. If members of Hamas had murdered Tom Hurndall would you not call it terrorism?

Would it not help resolve the conflict if Israel, and its key backer, the US, were held to the same moral standards as the Palestinians?

Regards,

Joe Emersberger

From Dejevsky Jan 19
not mine again, i'm afraid. it was someone who doesn't usually do it. our
policy mostly is to talk about militants rather than terrorists. when
someone blows people up deliberately, though, i tend to think that it is
hard to avoid using the word terrorist.

regards, mary dejevsky

Thanks again for replying.

Has your paper ever thought about having each author sign the leaders? Why not a least have a system in place where feedback is directed to the appropriate person so that guesswork is eliminated?

Anyway, who did write the leader of January 15? Who wrote the other one I wrote to you about - for January 3. You never told me.

I agree completely with using the term "terrorist" to describe the suicide bombers who have killed Israeli civilians. My question was why it is ONLY applied to them and not the Israeli government?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to a query which should have gone to someone else.

Regards,

Joe Emersberger

DEJEVSKY replies

the thing is that leaders are written on behalf of the editor. in that
sense, they are collective, and the only person who is at liberty to
identity the writer is the editor. some german papers identify the leader
writer by initials. when the independent started, there was a suggestion
that there should be no leading articles, but it was decided to follow
tradition and have a leader column.

regards, mary dejevsky

Jan 20,2004
Thanks for replying and for explaining the Independent's policy on leaders.

I do always copy Mr. Kelner, but I don't recall ever receiveing a response - even to tell me who wrote the leader.

Best wishes.

Joe Emersberger
Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:51 am
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