Media's Reaction to Syrian Strike Feels Like Déjà Vu

'Are we really doing this again?'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2017 4:39 PM CDT
Media's Reaction to Syrian Strike Feels Like Déjà Vu
In this image provided on Friday, April 7, 2017 by the US Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea.   (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP, File)

After President Trump's strikes on Syria this week, praise from the usually antagonistic media "flowed like wedding champagne," Margaret Sullivan writes for the Washington Post. It poured in from CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC. Trump "became president," followed his "heart," and did "the right thing." Brian Williams seemingly couldn't restrain himself from marveling at the "beautiful" attack. All of which led Sullivan to ask: "Are we really doing this again?"

The US media has a history of being easily distracted by shows of military power, forgetting things like skepticism and in-depth reporting, Sullivan writes. This was especially evident in the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003. The editor in chief at Mother Jones tells Sullivan the media loves a war because "it's good for TV." They rally around the president while ignoring context or motivations for fear of being seen as partisan. A professor of international affairs at Harvard tells Sullivan the media has a responsibility to do better. In other words, don't get distracted by the "beauty of our weapons," as Leonard Cohen (and Brian Williams) would say. Read the full piece here. (More media stories.)

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