On Slate today, contrarian media critic Jack Shafer is asking why no one in the supposedly vigilant press corps is asking questions about the testimony of John Burns, the Pulitzer-adorned war reporter for the NY Times.
In a new book compiling the stories of reporters (as we’ve mentioned here) embedded in the recent war, Burns charges that a correspondent “with a major American newspaper,” seeking the favor of the Iraqis, printed copies of his and other reporters’ stories and gave them to the ministry of information “to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state” — namely Burns.
While reporters were all declaring to American audiences they could not wear flag pins on the air, Shafer recounts how Burns scathingly condemns how reporters sucked up to the Iraqi minister of information, wining and dining him, “plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars.” Burns, who names no names, says TV correspondents gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to senior members of the ministry and then “behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror.” And yet Christiane Amanpour can only complain about “foot soldiers” at Fox!