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Recognition Long Overdue — Why Now?
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Recognition Long Overdue

McClatchy reports that McClatchy Bureau Chief wins Nieman Foundation award

WASHINGTON — John Walcott, the chief of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, was named on Thursday the first recipient of the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence, sponsored by Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.

Walcott was honored for leading a team of reporters whose skeptical coverage of the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq’s weapons programs in the months before the U.S. invasion in March 2003 was largely unmatched by other news outlets — and also largely ignored by policymakers.

“This is belated recognition of the powerful work done by Walcott in directing his colleagues in developing stories that were unappreciated and almost totally unnoticed at the time,” Bob Giles, the Nieman Foundation’s curator, said in announcing the award. “Because so many journalists fell short in their pre-Iraq war coverage, there’s a real need to recognize this dogged editor who went about his business in a resolute way to challenge many of the justifications for the war that proved to be false.”

“Part of the press now recognizes that most of the news media were duped by the Bush administration’s highest officials,” said Murrey Marder, a 1950 Nieman Fellow and sponsor of the foundation’s Nieman Watchdog Project. “Walcott and two especially tenacious reporters operating as a formidable, closely knit trio, were the only journalists out of hundreds of American reporters and editors across the nation working on pre-invasion stories who ‘got it right.’ ”

Walcott himself has been vocal in his criticism of both Congress and the media in the run-up to the Iraq War. Speaking last year at the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head, S.C., he said, “There was simple laziness: Much of what the administration said, especially about Iraq and al Qaida, simply made no sense, yet very few reporters bothered to check it out. They were stenographers; they were not reporters.”

There was a huge helping of cowardice to go along with the laziness. With a few notable exceptions like the Knight-Ridder/McClatchy team and some individual reporters, the media and Congress are just as culpable as the Hedgemony in the deaths caused by the Iraq invasion. You can’t simply print government propaganda and expected to be trusted by readers. The print media is dying of self-inflicted wounds – their failures to report the truth.


1 Kryten42 { 07.25.08 at 1:37 am }

Agree Bryan!

This is well deserved and definitely LONG overdue! Sadly, I know the rest of the useless media there will feel no shame whatsoever. Perhaps a few of the *real* reporters that are left might.

Hanging is too good for them!

2 Bryan { 07.25.08 at 4:55 pm }

They have no concerns beyond their inbred community, which is why some of them have no concerns about knocking into pedestrians with they’re car and driving away.