AWOL After 9/11: A Skeptical Press?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

There's a simple principle underlying "Buying the War," said television journalist Bill Moyers:

Be skeptical.

"People should read and watch the news with a raised eyebrow," said Moyers, a writer, executive editor and narrator of the 90-minute documentary about U.S. media coverage of claims and information leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The "phenomenon of terrorism" and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, shaped press coverage, he said. The film notes: "As the administration organized to strike back at the terrorists, there was little tolerance for critical scrutiny from journalists."

Clips from sources as varied as presidential news conferences, network newscasts and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" illustrate how issues leading up to the war were covered.

Among those interviewed are former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather, Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet the Press," and Walter Pincus and Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post. Moyers also talks with John Walcott, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder (now McClatchy) about their initial reporting that challenged many official claims.

The program is the first in a new PBS weekly series, "Bill Moyers Journal," scheduled to air regularly Fridays at 9 p.m.

-- Judith S. Gillies

BUYING

THE WAR

Wednesday

9 p.m., PBS


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