By Antonia Zerbisias

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An in-depth look at media performance in the war on Iraq

ANTONIA ZERBISIAS, media critic of The Toronto Star, Canada's biggest newspaper, takes a scathing look at the conduct of the media, the generals and the politicians involved the latest Gulf War. ColdType is republishing her columns as pdf downloads, ready for printing as inserts into an 8.5" by 11" binder. The cover (above) may also be downloaded for printing.
Click here to download Cover (384kb)


NEW / 29 April 2003
Star scoop exposes both sides of story
Interesting, isn’t it, how both sides of this war out there,
left and right, pro and anti, can draw such different conclusions
from a news story about some papers they’ve never seen?

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12 April 2003
Chaos – or just a vase they’re going through?
Okay, so the Anglo-American coalition ignored the United Nations and invaded Iraq because Iraq ignored the United Nations. I got that. I think. I think I also get the motivation how the hunt for weapons of mass destruction morphed into payback for 9/11, which, in turn, became regime change, which then became Operation Iraqi Freedom. Whatever slogan plays in order to wage war to achieve peace.
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10 April 2003
Save me from the fog of US war coverage
If there were a 10-metre statue of CNN’s Paula Zahn, I’d be the first to throw a rope around its neck and topple it. Not to pick on her in particular, okay?.
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8 April 2003
As battle rages, Cheney call the Star – seriously
You’d think that, what with the U.S. economy in tatters, a 9/11 commission that seems determined to uncover nothing about what happened that fateful day, war being waged on endless fronts (Afghanistan, drugs, Iraq, terrorism and, eventually, Iran and Syria) and who knows what else, the office of the world’s second-most powerful person would have more important things on its to-do list than worry about three little words. But no.
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6 April 2003
‘Saving Private Lynch’ and other tales
It seemed that, every time I flipped between CNN and MSNBC, they were telling and re-telling “Saving Private Lynch,” that archetypal, blonde-in-peril, made-for-TV movie coming to a ratings sweeps period near you. (And doesn’t Saddam Hussein make the perfect Oil Can Harry, tying the pure-hearted heroine to the railroad tracks?).
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3 April 2003
Neo-con pundits fire barrage at liberals
There is more than one front in the attack on Iraq.
Far from the sandstorms, the shooting and the shock and awe, pundits are locked in battle, sniping at each other in a war of words. But it's the same-old, same-old guerrilla match that has raged for years, with neo-con pundits attacking their foes in the "liberal" corporate media.
Can you say oxymoron, kids?

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1 April 2003
Arnett sacked for telling the ugly truth
The hot, hungry and homesick youth of America become terrified killers of women and children in Vietnam, er, Iraq and as anybody anywhere with a mouse can see how Operation Iraqi Freedom is not exactly as seen on U.S. TV, a Pulitzer prize-winning war correspondent is fired for stating the obvious.
Forget shooting the messenger. This is journalist as human shield against the ugly truth.

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30 MARCH 2003
Google can humble the hawks
America’s foray into Vietnam was “The Living Room War” because, for the first time, people could watch it on TV, albeit with a time lag of however long it took for the film to make it from Saigon to New York. The first Persian Gulf conflict was CNN’s war, a 24/7 spectacle of smart bombs, Scud Studs and Stormin’ Normans. This attack on Iraq belongs to the Internet.
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29 MARCH 2003
U.S. eyes wide shut to real-life gore and guts
‘It was just like in the movies,” U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Horgan told reporters at the U.S. Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany on Wednesday. “It was a whizzing noise. I thought, `Oh my God, I’m gonna die.’”Horgan was one of the lucky ones. Although he’ll never be a great dancer – part of his right heel was torn off – he still has his legs and his life. Not unexpected, his reference to the movies.
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27 MARCH 2003
Fog of war coverage is fouling the airwaves
Forget the fog of war. It is the fog of war coverage that is fouling the airwaves. Over the past few days, the mainstream print media have devoted acres of verbiage to how TV is coping with the incoming information bombardment. Not very well, it seems. The U.K.’s Guardian, just to cite one paper, turned out a devastating analysis yesterday, examining all the flip-flops TV made on the Basra uprising, or not, and the taking, or not, of Umm Qasr.
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25 MARCH 2003
Networks let Rumsfeld feed us war slices
So being cooped up for days with war TV, gorging on countless empty calories of what U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called “slices of the war,’’ is the emotional equivalent of sugar shock and awe. “What we’re seeing are slices of the war in Iraq,’’ he lectured reporters last Friday in his simultaneously slippery and syrupy way.
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22 MARCH 2003
TV avoids showing deadly side of war
Deeply embedded as I am in war TV coverage, my remote control thumb seeing as much action as a B-52 pilot’s trigger finger, my faith has been restored, almost. Not so much in the networks themselves, most of which are parading the Pentagon line, but in the reporters assigned to one of the deadliest journalistic minefields ever: The White House Press Briefing Room.
Let me explain.

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21 MARCH 2003
Talk about a poison gas attack
With TV all geared up for the deadliest show of American might and light since the Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, the anticipated blockbusting (literally) show of “shock and awe” turned out to be one of watch and wait, worry, wonder and wear out the anchors even before they could get their war on. Thank God.
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20 MARCH 2003
How Bush sold war to Americans
Remember how, when you were a kid, the toy you saw on TV never turned out to be as good as you had expected? It was then that you first learned a painful lesson about truth in advertising. Thanks to a consumer advocacy movement in the 1970s, one supported by “action hotlines” and investigative reporters, most advertisers have since cleaned up their acts.
But not all.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Antonia Zerbisias is The Toronto Star’s media columnist
and co-host of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) Inside Media, a weekly hour on CBC-TV’s all news channel, Newsworld. Since joining The Star in 1989 as TV critic, she has had a number of assignments, including Montreal correspondent. In 1997, she won Canada's National Newspaper Award for critical writing.

In previous lives, she reported for CBC-TV News in Montreal and for the business show Venture in Toronto. She holds an Honours MBA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she studied film & theatre arts for her B.A.

It is true that she has a TV in her bathroom

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