TV journalists criticize cable war coverage

Saturday, April 26, 2003

— The chief of the British Broadcasting Corp. and NBC News reporter Ashleigh Banfield criticized U.S. cable news networks for overly patriotic coverage of the war in Iraq.

BBC Director-General Greg Dyke said U.S. broadcasters had undermined their credibility by supporting the war. He singled out Fox News Channel's "gung-ho patriotism."

"Personally I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war," he said in a speech Thursday at the University of London.

None of the American cable news outlets would comment on Dyke's statements.

Meanwhile, NBC's Banfield said in a speech Thursday that cable news operators had wrapped themselves in the flag.

"It was a grand and glorious picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable TV news," Banfield said at Kansas State University.

"But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not sure Americans are hesitant to do this again -- to fight another war, because it looked to them like a courageous and terrific endeavor," she said.

Banfield said American television viewers didn't see what happened when the Marines fired their weapons.

"There were horrors that were completely left out of this war," she said.