CNN reporter talks of pressure

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Not that it wasn't obvious, but finally people are coming forward.

NEW YORK - CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin said Thursday she was referring to her time spent at MSNBC when she said she felt pressure not to report stories critical of the Bush administration during the time leading up to the Iraq war.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080529/ap_en_tv/tv_war_coverage [Broken]
 
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  • #2
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No one in the media wanted to be branded a traitor, after all, most Americans were led to believe Saddam had all of those WMD's and was woking on a mushroom cloud generator.

The link below has been around a while. It is to the Bill Moryers Journal production of "Buying The War" It is a must see if you haven't seen it.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html
 
  • #3
russ_watters
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I guess it's possible that the story is true, but:
"She had little to no contact with editorial decision makers, and certainly was not a part of the editorial process on a daily basis," Gaines said. "Given how her story has changed so dramatically since her appearance on CNN — her current employer — less than 24 hours ago, we find it hard to believe that anyone would take this disgruntled former employee's comments seriously."
 
  • #4
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From the last source:

How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"
Actually, good question. How can millions of honest, fair people, only wanting to do good, be so mislead and want to go to war. Actually, this is exactly how you to go war. Same symptoms were there in both camps prior WWI and in Germany prior to WWII and most definitely during the cold war. It’s all about the notion of a horrible enemy, who will harm us. So, we have to join our camps nationally and with the alies and face the threat together as we are honestly convinced that we are morally right and they are wrong. That notion seems to be unanimous as nobody respectful speaks up against it. And everybody who speaks up is a disloyal crook anyway.

So, we also have to rationalize the ethical consequences of going to war, and not expressing doubts that we may have and the role of the role of the press is obvious. A reporter cannot jeopardize the good cause for the country and ventilate criticism.

Incidentally it’s very likely that in the ‘enemy’ camp exactly the same happens. As I mentioned several times before, it’s called http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~fulmer/groupthink.htm [Broken]

See the eight symptoms:

Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.

Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group's stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group's decision; silence is seen as consent.

Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.
Would that fit the picture? Mind you, you don't do it on purpose, it's completely natural. In hindsight I see that I was victim of groupthink on several occasions, most severely during the cold war. We were very lucky with the Mutual Assured Destruction concept. Problably the only reason why this extreme form of groupthink did not end in disaster.

So I can't repeat it often enough, a very important part of the school education should be learning about the implications about teamwork versus groupthink.


Some literature:

http://class.et.byu.edu/mfg130/powerpoint/Teams_&_Teamwork.ppt
http://www.uni-konstanz.de/FuF/Verwiss/GSchneider/lehre/Political%20Psychology%20Course%20outline%20SoSe%202005.doc [Broken]
 
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  • #5
mathwonk
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well i remember quite clearly that hans blick, the un inspector, made it quite clear on television that there was no evidence of any weapons at all, and that they ahd looked everywhere the CIA had suggested they look, and he was very frustrated that his mission was being cut short.

so there was plenty of coverage of the lack of evidence. then after the war and the revealed lack of such weapons, and the lack of any link between saddam and al qaida had been widely reported, polls showed a majority of people still believed otherwise.

it suggests to me that a lot of people chose to believe president bush's lies, over objective evidence to the contrary.

i find it interesting that most of the flap over the current book by scott mcclellan is the argument that, even if his book is 100% true, still it is disloyal of him to have written it. i.e. most of the criticism being expressed is a clear statement of the principle that the public does not deserve to know the truth at all, if it means implicating someone you have worked for and believed in for years.

and there is a reason some disgruntled employes are disgruntled during this administration.

i am looking at an article (Atlanta journal - consitution, april 24, 2008, page A3, [all the real news is on back pages here]) headlined "Scientists at EPA report political heat", beginning "Hundreds of EPA scientists say they have been pressured by superiors to skew their findings...., a majority of the responses being from senior scientists who have worked at the gency for 10 years or more. The report said 60% reported personally experiencing what they viewed as political interference in the ir work over the past 5 years."
 
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  • #6
BobG
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MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said Yellin was a "freelance overnight news reader at MSNBC for one year who was not renewed." But he didn't dispute Yellin's claim that she did some Washington and Pentagon reports while there.

"She had little to no contact with editorial decision makers, and certainly was not a part of the editorial process on a daily basis," Gaines said. "Given how her story has changed so dramatically since her appearance on CNN — her current employer — less than 24 hours ago, we find it hard to believe that anyone would take this disgruntled former employee's comments seriously."
Isn't he puzzled?

Current press secretary Dana Perino said Mr. Bush "is puzzled, and he doesn't recognize this as the Scott McClellan that he hired and confided in and worked with for so many years;......
"I'm really stumped," former press secretary Ari Fleischer, once McClellan's boss, said on MSNBC.
 

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