Wars In Middle East Revealing Truth About The Media
Student Researchers: Claire Apatoff, Erin Kielty, Tom Rich
Faculty Evaluator: Jeff McCall, Department of Communication & Theater, DePauw University
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley
Attention has shifted from media coverage of the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Alissa Rubin, former Baghdad bureau chief for the New York Times, recently expressed her views in a New York Times’ editorial on the media’s role throughout the war in Iraq and how lessons must be learned from her experience. Rubin was sent to Iraq three days after Saddam Hussein fled Baghdad in 2003 and left the country in 2009, six years later. Ms. Rubin addressed writers and journalists analyzing the war mentality from the beginning of the war to its present state. All major media outlets covering the Iraq War expressed positive ideas that promised a smooth Iraqi transition from an intolerant country to a law-abiding democracy. As years passed, the conditions and brutality continued to worsen for soldiers and civilians, and the media continued to focus press attention on “phony-patriotism.” Rubin admitted that she should have reported on the brutal truth she witnessed within the country, yet she too wanted to believe in this new democracy. With Rubin’s evaluation of media coverage during the Iraq War there has been a new trend in the media to follow the government’s shifting attention in wars.
As President Obama changed gears from the war in Iraq to Afghanistan, there is a noticeable migration of journalists following the military. Alissa Rubin is one of them who have been reassigned from Iraq to Afghanistan. Now she worries that what she has learned in Iraq will be forgotten as new wars are initiated. Rubin admits that during this time in Afghanistan, skew the media needs to look at the lessons learned from Iraq and present the Afghan War truthfully instead of painting it as an altered version of democracy.