June 29th, 2014
12:02 PM ET

Should we listen to Dick Cheney?

Military analyst Rick Francona and counterterrorism analyst Phillip Mudd discuss former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent criticism of the Obama administration over Iraq; does he still deserve the media's attention?

Filed under: Blog • Dick Cheney • Iraq • Reliable Sources
June 22nd, 2014
01:51 PM ET

Has the media learned anything since the 2003 invasion of Iraq?

In the video above, Brian Stelter, Peter Beinart and Jonathan Landay discuss media coverage of the crisis in Iraq.

Stelter's opening comment: "Who are the reliable sources on the crisis in Iraq? There has been a roar in recent days - I heard it all over my Twitter feed - from viewers who want to know who the so-called architects of the 2003 invasion are now inhabiting TV studios once again, giving advice about what to do this time."

Peter Beinart, who wrote "Even Iraq's Sinners Deserve to Be Heard" for The Atlantic this week: "I think it's definitely true that the media's foreign policy conversation has an instinct towards kind of Beltway insiders who share basic assumptions. And some of the people who had the intellectual foresight and creativity to question the assumptions that led us to Iraq still don't get on the air, which is a big problem…"


Filed under: Iraq
June 15th, 2014
12:59 PM ET

Iraq: How to distinguish between real news and propaganda

Above, Storyful’s David Clinch on how his organization works to verify - and sometimes debunk - amateur photos and videos emerging from Iraq.

Here's the transcript:

STELTER: You have surely heard the old maxim that "in the fog of war, the first casualty is the truth." You've heard it because it tends to be true. It's very hard to know what's really happening in Iraq right now. Of course, it's a country that will always be associated in our minds with bad intelligence.

Sometimes reporters and TV producers have to rely on primary sources - photos and videos from people on the ever-shifting front lines. So, the vetting process for this material is critical. Many people here at CNN do it every day. We have Arabic speakers who watch video, translate them, cross-reference them, and sometimes debunk them. In fact, a message went out to the whole newsroom here on Friday, reminding everybody to steer clear of misinformation and mislabeled photos.

For help with this, lots of other news organizations depend on a fascinating start up called Storyful. It calls itself a social media news agency. Here's a sign how important this work is becoming: last year, Rupert Murdoch acquired Storyful for $25 million.

They have been busy there, debunking insurgent propaganda from Iraq, and I want you to hear how. So let me bring in David Clinch, executive editor of Storyful. He was previously a senior CNN international auditor here at CNN. David, thanks for joining me.

DAVID CLINCH, STORYFUL: Nice to be here, Brian. Thank you.

STELTER: Let me put two photos on screen that are from Twitter this week. Both of these are Blackhawk helicopters and the caption you can see on screen, it says, "Al Qaeda militants capture U.S. Blackhawk helicopters in Iraq." Are these images real? FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Media • Reliable Sources
June 15th, 2014
12:55 PM ET

Iraq: A war reporter’s view

Above: As Iraq again falls into a state of chaos, famed war correspondent John Burns of The New York Times talks with Brian Stelter about covering the conflicts, both currently and back in 2003.

Here's the transcript:

STELTER: How does it feel as someone - as one of the many reporters who risked their lives covering this war 10, 11 years ago - to see what's happening now?

BURNS: Well, we were - certainly, most of us were wise before the event. That's to say we could have not told you that we foresaw this in the weeks and months up to the American invasion.

But very shortly after that invasion, certainly within a year, most of us, almost all of us foresaw this unfolding as a disaster, indeed unfolding much as it has. Nothing that has happened in the last 72 hours, or for that matter the last two or three years since American troops withdrew, I believe has surprised anybody. FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Reliable Sources
July 28th, 2013
01:29 PM ET

Frank’s final thoughts

Guest host Frank Sesno offers his take on the highs and lows of the week - the Associated Press' analysis of the deadly train crash in Spain and of the media's coverage (or lack thereof) of Iraq.

Filed under: Associated Press • Final Thoughts • Iraq • Media • Media Criticism
What we're reading this week...
May 30th, 2013
05:19 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Becky Perlow, CNN

The official start of summer is still a few weeks away, but the weather is too beautiful to stay inside. So grab your sunscreen and relax by the pool while you catch up on what the Reliable staff is reading this week!

Do the shoes make the woman? Some journalists seem to think so, as they've written articles referencing a woman's shoes... as if her footwear choice lends any insight into her individual integrity. Unfortunately, the "insight" is usually cast in a negative tone, such as when USA Today’s Joanne Bamberger wrote that Sheryl Sandberg wants “women to pull themselves up by the Louboutin straps." According to one Slate.com writer, though, "the mention of high heels is an egregious detail—so many women wear them, they’re about as meaningful a fashion choice as a senator in a suit."

Closing up shop: With U.S. soldiers back home and a dwindling stream of news from the Middle Eastern nation, news organizations have been shutting down their brick-and-mortar operations. This week, CNN was the last American news organization to do so, though it will continue to have a permanent presence. According to TVNewser, "it's also the end of an era," as CNN has operated a bureau in Iraq since 1990, becoming a household name for its coverage of the Gulf War.

News from the mole hole: It's been more than a year since news broke of a liberal mole in the Fox New lair, but the man at the center of the story continues to cash in on his 15-minutes of fame. In an article released on Salon.com and tied to his new book, Joe Muto writes about where Fox News' editorial direction comes from and gives readers a rundown into O'Reilly's daily schedule. So what's next on Muto's plate? Only time will tell.

Tawdry tabloid tours: New York City's landmarks have certainly staked their places in history – from visiting The Great Gatsby’s Plaza Hotel, to the Upper-East Side tours of Carrie Bradshaw's rent-controlled brownstone, people from all over the world travel to see the places of their favorite novels, TV shows and movies. "In February The New York Post, in partnership with Metro Sightseeing, an offshoot of Circle Line Sightseeing, began taking riders on a tabloid excursion around the city, revisiting many of the sites immortalized in the newspaper’s renowned headlines," writes The New York Times. Apparently, though, one scandalized sightseeing ride isn't enough - TMZ has now joined the scene.

So where would you go on a Tabloid Tour? And are you reading anything interesting this week? Tell us in the comments below.

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Filed under: Baghdad • Blog • Iraq • Media • New York Post • Reliable Sources • TMZ • What we're reading
March 17th, 2013
01:40 PM ET

The Media’s Iraq Failure

Howard Kurtz, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Mark Thompson and Fred Francis assess the mistakes the media made in the build-up to the Iraq war, which began ten years ago this week.

Filed under: Blog • Iraq • Reliable Sources
March 15th, 2013
08:08 PM ET

Sneak peek at this Sunday's show

For a show that considers itself a family, NBC's “Today” has been ripped apart in the media for its poor handling of Ann Curry's departure. Many have blamed current co-host Matt Lauer, who remarkably kept silent through the entire ordeal... until now. Lauer broke his silence earlier this week during an interview with Howard Kurtz, where he shared his feelings on the matter. Lauren Ashburn, Editor-in-chief of Daily-Download.com, and Adam Buckman, TV columnist for Xfinity, join Howie to discuss.

Following weeks of media speculation and hours of pundits predicting who would fill Pope Benedict's famous red shoes, millions of viewers watched as Vatican City announced the arrival of Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. But before it was announced, TV anchors couldn't decide if the smoke was black or white (the latter signalling the Conclave's approval of a new pope). Howie invites New York Times religion correspondent Laurie Goodstein and The Washington Post's Sally Quinn to the table, where they'll assess the media's coverage of the pope.

CNN’s Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper also swings by the studio to chat with Howie about continuing tensions between the White House and reporters, as well as his new show, The Lead, which debuts Monday, March 18.

It's been 10 years since American troops entered Iraq, and ultimately 10 years of non-stop war coverage... but what lessons have we learned? The Washington Post's senior correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Time magazine's Mark Thompson will share their experiences covering the war and debate the media's shortcomings with Howie and former NBC News Senior Correspondent Fred Francis.

Tune in this Sunday, 11 E.T.

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Filed under: International • Iraq • Media • Media Criticism • Pope Francis • Reliable Sources • Sneak Peek • The Lede