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Tuesday, June 28, 2005Kill the Messenger, Hide the News - By Steve Weissman
When truthout boss Marc Ash asked me earlier this year to look into the Pentagon's killing of journalists, I didn't know what to expect. Many reporters at the time believed that American soldiers were purposely targeting them. But, as I soon found, the crime was larger and more systemic.
The 4-part investigation "Dead Messengers: How the US Military Threatens Journalists" appeared in February and March. Readers responded positively and in overwhelming numbers, and the series won a prestigious award from Project Censored as one of the year's top under covered news stories.
Everyone who worked on the story here was pleased. But none of us celebrated. The Pentagon did not change its policies. Journalists remain at risk. And - no surprise - the mainstream media continues to miss the story.
As far as anyone has yet proved, no US commanding officer ever ordered a subordinate to fire on journalists as such. Not at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel in April 2003. Not at the highway checkpoint where soldiers wounded Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and killed her Secret Service protector in March 2005. And, not anywhere else in Iraq or Afghanistan.
How, then, did the US military end up killing journalists?