Frontline does media analysis

The first episode of the PBS show Frontline’s new four-part “News War,” which began airing last night, gives a nice overview of the ongoing...

The first episode of the PBS show Frontline’s new four-part “News War,” which began airing last night, gives a nice overview of the ongoing “Scooter” Libby affair, using it as a symbol of the cozy relationship some journalists today have with government officials, in the White House and elsewhere.

The show may not present anything new on the ongoing saga of who told whom about the circumstances of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger and the evidence of uranium-related business dealings that he didn’t find there, but the lineup of interviewees is fun, including as it does Bob Woodward, the New York Times’ Bill Keller and Judith Miller, the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus, and even local PR pro and Justice Department vet Mark Corallo.

The notion of a “media elite” being manipulated by politicians – the New York Times has confessed to overly credulous coverage of purported weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, for instance – may not be anything new. But an examination of the news articles published in the leadup to the US invasion of Iraq is timely, given the change in control of Congress and an expected resolution disapproving of the Bush administration’s current war plans, not to mention the current Libby perjury trial.

That the series’ co-producer and reporter is Lowell Bergman adds some additional nuance. Bergman is the former producer at CBS’ 60 Minutes who was at the heart of the contretemps over a report about a whistleblower at Brown & Williams Tobacco -- the subject of the fascinating Michael Mann docudrama The Insider, with Bergman played by Al Pacino.

Will there be a movie someday on Wilson, Libby, Cheney, et al? Let’s hope!

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