The New York Times editors must be gritting their teeth knowing that public editor Margaret Sullivan is going to be yapping at them for the next 22 months. Not that there's much to compete with, but she's the best thing that has happened to American journalism in quite a while. Today she whacks the paper for its tepid coverage of the biggest scandal of the Obama administration: The unaccountable, immoral and counter-productive drone war:
Americans, according to polls, have a positive view of drones, but critics say that’s because the news media have not informed them well. The use of drones is deepening the resentment of the United States in volatile parts of the world and potentially undermining fragile democracies, said Naureen Shah, who directs the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia University’s law school.
“It’s portrayed as picking off the bad guys from a plane,” she said. “But it’s actually surveilling entire communities, locating behavior that might be suspicious and striking groups of unknown individuals based on video data that may or may not be corroborated by eyeballing it on the ground.”
On Sunday, Ms. Shah’s organization will release a report that raises important questions about media accuracy on drone strikes. But accuracy is only one of the concerns that have been raised about coverage of the issue.
“It’s very narrow,” said David Rohde, a columnist for Reuters who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008 when he was a Times reporter. “What’s missing is the human cost and the big strategic picture.”
She also thinks the "Paper of Record" is dropping the ball on Libya.