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Journalism Today


What If? Back in the earliest days of Desert Shield, when President George Herbert Walker Bush had placed a deadline of mid-January, 1991 on Saddam Hussein and his forces to get out of Kuwait, Saturday Night Live parodied a "news conference" between a pool of reporters and a spokesman for the coalition. The skit was spot-on as it demonstrated the media’s never ending quest to compromise national security for a Pulitzer.

Reporter: General, where and when will coalition forces attack Hussein’s army in Kuwait? And if I may, a follow-up question? How many troops will be involved in the attack?

There must be something in the water at today’s schools of journalism, because when the media isn’t trying to find the next Daniel Ellsberg with his stash of classified Pentagon Papers or a "Deep Throat," they’re busy portraying every effort of the current administration in Iraq as an exercise in gloom and doom. If classified material pertaining to our efforts in Iraq, or on the War on Terror in general is exposed, so much the better. The
people, goes the journalistic argument, have "the right to know."

And they get away with this with impunity.

Imagine if this reporting of highly-classified materials or operations was reported on, as it is today, during World War II‹perhaps the Manhattan Project‹or the mounting casualties in the Battle of the Bulge were portrayed as a travesty, the war in Europe looking more and more like a quagmire?

Victor Davis Hanson in his "In the Eye of the Beholder," at National Review Online paints a revealing picture of today’s journalistic practices, applied to the closing days of World War II.