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Groggy American Media


Wired News, Mar. 17, 2003

"In the run up to a conflict in Iraq, foreign news websites are seeing large volumes of traffic from America, as U.S. citizens increasingly seek news coverage about the coming war. 'Given how timid most U.S. news organizations have been in challenging the White House position on Iraq, I'm not surprised if Americans are turning to foreign news services for a perspective on the conflict that goes beyond freedom fries,' said Deborah Branscom, a [former] Newsweek contributing editor, who keeps a weblog devoted to media issues. In Jan., for example, half the visitors to the Guardian Unlimited news site, an umbrella site for Britain's left-leaning Guardian and Observer newspapers, were from the Americas. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, 49 percent of the Guardian's 1.3 million unique visitors (that's the number of different visitors, not the site's total traffic) in Jan. originated from the Americas."
"[Jon] Dennis [Guardian Unlimited deputy news editor] charged that, unlike much of the American press, the Guardian site presents both pro- and anti-war positions. . . . There is also a growing tide of criticism of the U.S. media from members of the media, such as veteran C.B.S. broadcaster Dan Rather. Rather recently complained to the B.B.C. about the media's lack of access to government officials, and the growth of 'Milatainment' reality shows on U.S. T.V., including A.B.C.'s Profiles from the Front Line and V.H.1.'s Military Diaries. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, '(U.S. T.V. news) seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media.' That's not to say U.S. news outlets are devoid of criticism for leaders' handling of the conflict in Iraq. Krugman himself is a case in point, having published a column last week with an opening sentence stating that 'America's leadership has lost touch with reality.' "