Editorial pages toe the administration line on Iraq

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Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher, has a strong column out today noting that one month after pundits and editorialists, following the approved administration line, declared that the situation in Iraq was on the upswing, the death toll continues to mount.

One more thing remains stupefying and typical: the refusal of newspaper editorial pages to protest above a whisper or support any kind of plan for withdrawal (slow, speedy or in-between). When the history of this war is written, this editorial lethargy will receive just as much condemnation as the faulty reporting on WMD before the war, I believe. …

Newspaper reporters in Iraq have provided honest, probing and tough-minded coverage of the occupation, despite the danger and others restrictions that hinder their work. But editorial writers and pundits back home have displayed only a fraction of the reporters’ courage. Instead they offer feeble faith in staying the course. When the Democrats finally forced the first real debate on withdrawal in Congress last month, few newspapers bothered to comment editorially — one way or the other. In a few months we will have been in Iraq as long as we were in World War II.

Worth a read. Meanwhile David Corn, writing at TomPaine.com, swats down the ridiculous (and self-interested) conservative line that the New York Times has “declared war” on the Bush administration. As if! “Only someone who didn’t read the newspapers could believe it has.”

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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