Penn's War: Media Lap Dogs Backed Iraq Mess

However, Rich Noyes, director of research at the Media Research Center, sees the press coverage leading up to the war in Iraq differently. He has just released a five-year study of the three major television networks.

"The left has claimed that the media didn't do enough to stop the war in its tracks," he told "But if you go back to the questions asked and the articles that were written and the news that aired, there were great skeptics, adversarial coverage and even hostile news coverage."

The most aggressive, Noyes said, was Peter Jennings of ABC News. "We have pages and pages of quotes."

Despite the media's attacks, Noyes said the media historically has had a "liberal tilt."

Since the onset of the war, the media have been even more anti-government, according to Noyes.

By 2004, with coverage of scandals like Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, the negative stories "more than outstripped the coverage of Medals of Honor winners and Silver Stars," he said.

"The vast array of coverage showed soldiers as anonymous or victims of policy perpetrators or misdeeds," said Noyes. "This sort of bad news hurt the morale of the country."

Alan Schroeder, associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University, told that investigative journalism is not alive and well today. He worries that corporate forces have taken their toll on an independent media.

"Investigative journalism takes a lot of time and you don't produce daily stories and it requires a financial investment," he said. "Journalism is a business and subject to all the pressures of the marketplace."

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