I have been rather hard on the press because of their seemingly passive role in the lead up to and the conduct of the Iraq war. I never had any independent confirmation of the fact that the press basically rolled over for the Bush administration until now. Jessica Yellin on CNN admitted that her bosses at MSNBC told her how she should cover the war. Here are some of her comments:
"I think the press corps dropped the ball at the beginning. When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings. And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president...they wouldn’t say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces. They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive, yes. That was my experience."
I am very sure that her experience was not unique. I have said this before but when the press is no longer free to present their own views, then we no longer have a free press.