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Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship
CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."|
As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.
On last week's Topic A With Tina Brown on CNBC, Brown, the former Talk magazine editor, asked comedian Al Franken, former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke and Amanpour if "we in the media, as much as in the administration, drank the Kool-Aid when it came to the war."
Said Amanpour: "I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
Brown then asked Amanpour if there was any story during the war that she couldn't report.
"It's not a question of couldn't do it, it's a question of tone," Amanpour said. "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."
Clarke called the disinformation charge "categorically untrue" and added, "In my experience, a little over two years at the Pentagon, I never saw them (the media) holding back. I saw them reporting the good, the bad and the in between."
Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
CNN had no comment.
Miami Herald' gets makeover
The Miami Herald unveils a new look today that editor Tom Fiedler says is intended to answer the questions: "If we were starting over in 2003, what kind of newspaper would we be, who would be reading us, how could we better serve those readers and what would the paper look like?"
It's the first comprehensive overhaul of the Knight Ridder-owned paper in three decades, timed to coincide with the paper's 100th year.
"We're trying to rethink newspapering, just as USA TODAY did 20 years ago," Fiedler says.
Gone are the days when Miami was largely defined a haven for retirees. In the past few decades, the area has drawn a wide variety of people of different ages, walks of life and ethnicity. The growing Latino population prompted the 1998 launch of a Spanish version of the broadsheet El Neuvo Herald. But the layout and coverage in both papers has remained essentially unchanged from years ago.
It was time for something new.
"In many ways, this community accelerated far ahead of where the newspaper was," Fiedler says. "We put out a terrific paper for 1990, and it had great journalism, but in many ways it was still operating on a concept of a community that was rapidly disappearing 20 years ago."
Today's changes include a daily nod to a fast-paced world where readers are used to quick bites of news from the Internet.
It's a synopsis of the paper's contents called "The 5-Minute Herald" and it is designed for the working parent who, rushed for time in the morning, "can get a real overview of what's in the paper that day but who might have tucked away a story they'd like to read at lunch or after work," Fiedler says. Plus, he says, "we want to make sure young people are seeing their lives in their paper."
The features section will now be in a magazine format and will have a different theme each day, starting today with people, followed Tuesday by health, then style, food and weekend.
Although Fiedler is touting paper's new look, one thing that isn't going to change, he says, is the quality of the reporting. "There's not going to be any dumbing down of the paper."