— CNN (@CNN) September 12, 2015
1. This article is about the Syrian war and how it is affecting the population of Syria. I chose this because it gave a good comparison to the U.S. to show how many people are being devastated by this war and put it into perspective for the U.S. population.
2. The research was done by CNN and looks to be done from 2011 to the present day, as the war started approximately around 2011.
3. In the article they have data on Syrians leaving to go to Europe but I do not know exactly how they are getting these numbers. Do they take a census over in Europe to find this out, or is it just an estimation based on the decreasing population in Syria?
Challenging the president and or military leaders during war can bring some good and some bad to situations. For the people (since our government is “for the people”) it affects two different crowds – the aware and the unaware. For those that are aware, those that are politically knowledgeable and engaged – it often answers some questions but develops independent opinions. This is good. For the unaware crowd it develops mostly questions but pulls the crowd to believe the opinions towards those of the source in which they received it. This is not good.
Time of war is already a difficult time for the nation because it is often the people who suffer. It is the people who have the close relatives fighting in a foreign land to protect the things we call “privileges of freedom” (if that is what we are REALLY fighting for).
In a time of crisis, such as the events of September 11, 2001, the role of a reporter changes dynamically. For these times of crisis as much as a reporter wants to be that person to bring the news first, bringing the credible news or have their name as the one reporting this is when they realize they are still human and things such as emotion become present.
I personally believe challenging the president and military leaders during a time of crisis like September 11 ads to an already confusing time. If the nation is at an upheaval, the time to go against the government and its leaders might not be right then. I remember hearing my first political discussion after the September 11 attacks and it did nothing but create more confusion and emotion distress in the small room we were in. Just taking that small scene and multiplying it by 200,000 to encompass most of the different political views, religious views and social expectations I can only imagine what it does on a large scale.
Excuse me and not to be overly cliche and borderline-paranoid, but I think every good discussion on the role of the media deserves a quote from our friend, George Orwell.
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. (1984, Book 1, Chapter 3)
The point here is simple, but important–for the government to not have such unparalleled, unquestioned influence over the course of political events, it is absolutely essential for the press to not only be free, but to play an active, inquisitive role in society. This means more than simply publishing official resources or questioning Obama’s decision to appear on the Daily Show instead of reforming economic initiatives. What it means is that, yes, the media–especially the news media–have an almost moral obligation to not only report the news at its core, but to analyze it in such a way that is critical in nature, even if that might be perceived as accusatory.
When I first saw the topic for this blog, many thoughts popped into my mind. I have many opinions on how journalists should act during a crisis. Obviously, there are many journalists who will support the things that a certain President/Military leaders do, but there will always be some who do not support them. That is the great thing about our 1st Amendment right of free speech. Journalists in this country are allowed to speak their mind, and their opinions. In many other countries, saying bad/negative things about the government, etc can cost a journalist their career, or even life. In this famous video, an Iraqi journalist throws his sweaty shoe at George W. Bush. I think it can be assumed that in other counties if a journalist had thrown his shoe at the country’s leader, that would not be tolerated.
I think that journalists have the right to challenge the President/Military leaders during a war. However, I do not think that it is always the right thing to do. I think that journalists should, and have the right to question what is going on, but that their goal should not be trying to scare the country. If a journalist does not agree with something, they have the right to question it, and investigate further, but they should do it in such a way that does not scare the people, and does not make them question or fear their government.
After a major tragedy, such as September 11th, I think initially journalists need to stand by their country. They need to report the facts, and stand united. A great example of a journalist being very Patriotic is Dan Rather, of CBS News. As we watched in class, when he appeared on Dave Letterman soon after 911, he appeared very Patriotic, and even cried when discussing the tragedy. In his interview, he stands by George W Bush, even stating “George W. Bush is the President, and he makes the decisions.”
I think Dan Rather was a great example that day of how journalists should act during a crisis. He stood by the President and his country, and made America proud.
The role of journalists during and after a crisis is to get the news out there. The American public need, and have a right, to know what is happening on any given day in their country, especially during a crisis. Journalists need to report the facts.
I believe that journalist should question the government in times of crisis, but our news media often blurs the line of objectivity. While there are minor exceptions to this role (i.e. Knight Ridder and Christiane Amanpour), many media outlets let the government doing the talking because they aren’t asking the right questions to get to the “final proof.”
Journalists are often considered part of the “fourth estate” when it comes to the government “as an additional check on the three official branches.” Our country’s founders discussed the “freedom of the press” in the Constitution’s First Amendment, which many see as a need for truth and news for our country from the very beginning, protecting us from “the worst forms of tyranny.” But, unlike doctors and lawyers, journalists don’t take an official oath; it is up to the individuals and news organizations to ensure that they follow some sort of code to ensure public trust and to distribute the truth. Georgetown Law laid out the most important rule in Media and Journalists in Society: “The information must be accurate; it must be presented objectively and interpreted fairly; and it must, if an expression of editorial opinion, be answerable.”
As journalists strive to deliver the news, the truth easily gets lost in the process. In times of crisis, is American patriotism or accurate reporting necessary? This is where the line is blurred. As American citizens, we want the truth, but as we discussed in class, when the New York Times reported unpatriotic “truths,” protesters lined their sidewalks. They were called out for being anti-American while simply trying to inform the public. So what DO Americans want? It seems we say one thing, but do the other when it comes to journalism and politics.
Former CNN reporter Amanpour attempts into the “watchdog role” in her reporting, but it has caused criticism from many outlets:
“Some people accused me of being pro-Muslim in Bosnia, but I realised that our job is to give all sides an equal hearing, but in cases of genocide you can’t just be neutral. You can’t just say, ‘Well, this little boy was shot in the head and killed in besieged Sarajevo and that guy over there did it, but maybe he was upset because he had an argument with his wife.’ No, there is no equality there, and we had to tell the truth.”
Moyer’s documentary discussed how the Bush administration ensured that the approved reporters were able to ask questions. This is where the problem lies – journalists have to ask questions and get answers to really report a story, but if they aren’t given the fair opportunity, how can they report the truth? The Bush administration was extremely wary of the press, which inhibiting this coverage. Bush once responded to a reporter asking difficult questions:
“You’re assuming that you represent the public. I don’t accept that.”
No matter what ethics code a journalist stands by, if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, the news cannot report the full story.
“It’s a question of being rigorous. It’s really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it’s the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels.” – Amanpour
While I agree there needs to be some secrecy in government (and I don’t agree with the Wikileaks’ goals), there needed to be more of a challenge to the Bush administration post-9/11. For instance, how exactly do Saddam Hussein and the Al-Queda link? What proof is there of weapons of mass destruction? The intentional internal leaks are frightening to me as a journalism student. We received the information the government wanted us to hear about Iran/Iraq but not what we needed to hear. Reporters and anchors, like CBS’ Katie Couric, cannot just simply repeat the government-framed information.
The juggling game continues. As newsroom budgets and staffs get cut, can the American public accept a “sleeping watchdog” press, which advocates for objective news, but doesn’t practice it? With only the Knight Ridder Washington bureau questioning Bush’s post-9/11 movements, it seems as “cheerleading” for the presidential policies is much more encouraged post-crisis. I don’t think we would be in such a mess now, if the press had only questioned Bush’s actions at the time. The media must practice objective reporting now, so we don’t have to pay for misinformation later.
I think that being a democratic citizen in 2010 does not mean the same thing as what it did when my parents were my age and when my grandparents were my age. From generation to generation the issues change and so does what is important to a generation. It’s just like when our grandparents tell us that they walked up hill both ways in the snow to get to school when they were kids.
Political involvement then meant volunteering on campaigns and getting involved in protests and joining groups that made a difference, not that this is not what happens today it just happens in a different way. College students of today are engaged in a different way thanks to technology. Now we join groups on Facebook and instead of protests we write blogs, and we still do volunteer on campaigns, but the process is a different one.
When we get out political information is also different. Newspapers and radio were our grandparents generation; radio, newspapers, and television were our parents; and now we have the Internet and all of the other information outlets as well. But we use all of them, just some more than others with the Internet in our cases.
The question of challenging the president or military leaders during time of war is loaded. There are questions and challenges to be made and asked at every level. Starting with the basic: should we go to war? Then to: What is the plan exaclty?
Pre 9/11 I’d say yes, absolutely challenge a huge decision like going to war. “Buying the War” mentioned how Pres. Bush had a press release with a list of journalists that he could call on. They only asked surface questions. They did not even ask about how Iraq was connected to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. TThey all just agreed with him, the video said there wasn’t even any hard evidence to back up Bush’s claims during his press release that led to war. Why did no one question this? Because the US was attacked and the overall census was to retaliate but at who? The Government picked Iraq and Afghanistan and off we went to war.
The entire time the decisions listed above were being made, journalists were practically forced to agree with the president or they were being un-American and unpatriotic.
Ideally, during a crisis the journalists would provide the facts of the situation so that the government and the nation can make informed decisions. After the crisis, the journalists should review the facts and the decisions made and criticize/analyze whether the government made the right decisions.
Who knows where we would be if the papers and television crews had reported a little less on the emotional side of 9/11 facts and a little more on the critical side of the situation and the possible outcomes.