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The morning after the US began the bombing of Iraq NBCs Robert Bazell reported the Pentagons assessment via the Today show It was spectacular news Bazell summarized Weve lost only one casualty Other networks were similarly ecstatic CBSs Charles Osgood 11791 described the early bombing of Iraq as a marvel while the same networks Jim Stewart 11791 spoke of two days of almost picture-perfect assaults The war ended on the same note of enthusiastic cheerleading from the media with CBSs Dan Rather 22791 pumping a generals hand after an interview and gushing Congratulations on a job wonderfully done The euphoria at the beginning and the end of the Persian Gulf War bracketed one of the most disturbing episodes in US journalistic historya period in which many reporters for national media abandoned any pretense of neutrality or reportorial distance in favor of boosterism for the war effort As Hodding Carter who once served as a State Department spokesperson put it If I were the government Id be paying the press for the kind of coverage it is getting right now C-SPAN 22391 Or in the words of a US colonel who handed out little flags to pool reporters You are warriors too London Independent 2691 A few journalists chafed at sacrificing professional standards We have sort of become adjuncts of the government one correspondent in Saudi Arabia told New York Newsday 12391 The line between me and a government contractor is pretty thin But many TV journalists did not need to be coerced into abandoning the appearance of independence instead accepting the task of guiding public opinion in favor of the war as their natural role In discussing the prospect of increased casualties Jim Lehrer 12391 presented the government and the media as an information team Have officials and the press prepared the American people for what may happen next NBCs Tom Brokaw 12291 was skeptical
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