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Media "watchdogs" kept on a short leash

December 13, 2002 | Page 4

THE BUSH administration is placing further restrictions on the already strict limits of what the media are allowed to see in U.S. wars.

Arthur Kent, who covered the 1991 Gulf War for NBC, predicted that in a new war with Iraq, Pentagon "attempts to muzzle us…are going to be unprecedented." And that's saying something--given the drastic effort by George Bush Sr.'s administration to limit press coverage during the first Gulf War.

When the air war began in January 1991, the media were fed selected footage of U.S. bombing missions--"most of it downright misleading," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Briefings by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and other military officers featured video images of laser-guided missiles and bombs hitting perfectly on target.

The Pentagon managed to not show a single picture or video of anyone being killed--even after tens of thousands of surrendering Iraqi troops were slaughtered by U.S. forces as they retreated from Kuwait on what became known as the "Highway of Death."

Dick Cheney later bragged that Desert Storm was the "best-covered war ever…The American people saw up close with their own eyes through the magic of television what the U.S. military was capable of doing."

The opposite is true. Cheney and friends went to enormous lengths to make sure people in the U.S. didn't see the horror that was inflicted in their name.

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