CJR: THE FORT DIX SIX FOR SKEPTICS

From Columbia Journalism Review’s daily online page:

The Bush administration’s Justice Department has a vested interest in portraying every “plot” it busts as the next 9/11, regardless of how embryonic or feeble. It serves as a distraction from the administration’s failures in Iraq and elsewhere, it perpetuates the state of fear that has served this White House well innewpanic.gif recent years, and it justifies the massive Homeland Security bureaucracy. Journalists, meanwhile, are at a decided disadvantage when trying to determine the seriousness — or lack thereof — of the threat, because the government holds all the cards. That’s why a healthy dose of skepticism — given this administration’s track record with truth — is crucial to the press’s handling of stories like Fort Dix. These would-be terrorists in New Jersey should be taken seriously, at least until we have reason to believe they shouldn’t. We’re only a couple of days into this story, but it’s never too early to watch for the hype, and watch for how the press either runs with it, or turns a skeptical eye. [via ATTYTOOD]

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