Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq

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ISBN-13: 978-1590171295
ISBN-10: 1590171292
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Editorial Reviews


"Together Massing and Schell make a compelling case that the American press—especially The New York Times—failed miserably in carrying out its responsibility to investigate the credibility of press releases from the Bush administration concerning the threat of Saddam Hussein, his non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and the conduct of the war in Iraq."
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About the Author

Michael Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, writes frequently on the press and foreign affairs.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 91 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review Books (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171295
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,122,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Folantin HALL OF FAME on February 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of Michael Massing's slim collection of essays, "Now They Tell Us" refers to the idea that American journalists failed to adequately present the facts about Iraq's alleged possession of the now-legendary Weapons of Mass Destruction. These facts, Massing argues, were available prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 3/03, but the facts were obfuscated, ignored, downplayed or buried.

The first essay, "The Unseen War" sets the stage for understanding exactly how most information about the war is delivered to the press. The essay begins with a description of the Coalition Media Centre in Qatar, and it's here that General Brooks delivers his press announcements. When "Now They Tell Us" was written, Jim Wilkinson ran the Coalition Media Centre. Wilkinson was also a spokesman for Rumsfeld during the 2000 elections, and he is currently Bush's deputy national security advisor for communications reporting to C. Rice. Massing describes how many reporters are reluctant to ask piercing questions (about civilian casualties, for example), as they are well aware that their names can be--as Wilkinson delicately phrased it--"put on a list." In other words, tough questions may result in not being called to ask questions at all. Massing also details some facts about al-Jazeera's coverage of the war and its emphasis on the civilian victims, and explains that even "live feed was being put on five-second delay" in order to allow MSNBC to edit out "disturbing" footage.

The second essay, "Now They Tell Us" focuses on intelligence used before the war to justify the invasion of Iraq. Massing discusses the controversy over the notorious centrifuge tubes, the debates within the intelligence community, and the conflicting reports regarding the flimsy al-Qaeda-Iraq connection.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mk on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This collection of updated clips running in the New York Times Book Review 2003-2004 offers a detailed log of the American press and their coverage of the days leading up to and during the Iraqi war. Massing sharply points out significant miscues, misinterpretations, and just plain ignorance on behalf of news organizations' editors that have played a key role in promoting and supporting the Bush administration into a war. The silencing of dissenting voices in the administration, the news organizations, and even the democratic opposition only exaggerated the political climate in our nation deferential to the Bush administration. Fresh off the pains of 9/11, Bush had the support and patriotism of the American people and no one was going to challenge that. No reporter was going to run articles critical of the administration. Massing shows how significant a role NY Times reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon played in the days leading up to the war. It goes to show how much power the media can flex when the atmosphere is ripe. Read this for yourself and you decide.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Edward on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent read detailing the failure of the US media to truly report the situation in Iraq. Mr Massing details many stories from independent reporters who have seen first hand the devastation that is happening daily which is never reported in the US.

Although I enjoyed this book, I am curious as to who it is aimed at... those who are truly interested in world news never watch mainstream US media anyway. They know that if you want to know what is happening in the world, any US news media is the last place to go... Those people who do watch the US news media, probably do not care to know any more than what is already reported.
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