Thursday, June 02, 2005

Today's "Awake" contacts

Following up on yesterday's post about the Downing Street Minutes, here are today's media contacts:

  • ABC News. email: phone: 212-456-4040
  • PBS NewsHour. email: phone: 703-739-5000
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  • The Baltimore Sun, Public Editor Paul Moore. email: phone: 410-332-6364

The first two get the same note you sent yesterday. The Baltimore Sun is a special case - they're a small local paper doing terrific reporting, and we want to encourage them to do more of it.

Here are two "bad media" samples to get you started. First a long, verbose one (from me, of course):

Dear [Bad Media Outlet]:

It's been more than a month since the "Downing Street Minutes" story leaked over here from Britain. By any reckoning, this should be about the biggest story of the decade: the president decides he wants a war, twists intelligence to get there, even talks about timing it in the context of his re-election campaign.

Yet we've heard very little from you on this story.
  • Please don't tell me it's old news. I don't recall any major news outlet stating that Bush appears to have lied his way into Iraq and that we ought to be investigating.
  • Please don't tell me it's hearsay. The document in question is a "Memorandum of Understanding" from a meeting held among high-level British officials in Tony Blair's office. It is a legal document containing the written record, or minutes, of an official government meeting. We are not talking about a photocopy of a letter written in questionable typeface and pulled out of somebody's bureau drawer.
  • Please don't tell me it's not important. There is scarcely a more important story out there. More than 1,800 coalition soldiers are dead and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians; we've spent $174 billion and counting; we've stretched our military to the breaking point and beyond.
The American people deserve to know how we got into this situation. We don't get to ask the president questions, but you do. Won't you please devote some investigative resources and air time [column space] to this critically important story? And soon?

And a short, pithy one:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been dismayed at the Post's failure to adequately cover what is possibly the largest story on the run-up to the Iraq War to date: the British Downing Street meeting minutes which revealed that the Bush administration "fixed" US intelligence to suit an opaque agenda and manipulated US and international institutions in order to facilitate the Iraq war.

How this does not strike the Post as newsworthy is utterly beyond me. Please improve your coverage of this crucial story.
And last, a "good media" letter:
Dear Mr. Moore:

The Baltimore Sun has done yeoman's work in covering news that the current administration would like to sweep under the carpet. I can't tell you how much you've done to keep hope alive in the "reality-based community" merely by asking sane questions and continually pressing for answers. Your influence extends far beyond the DC area and you put national papers, with all their reporting and distribution resources, to shame.

Please keep up this tradition with the two scandals surrounding the Downing Street Minutes. The first scandal is that an official British government document indicates very strongly that Bush lied us into war. The second scandal is that major US media outlets are ducking the story and getting away with calling it "old news."

If your paper could devote some resources to these two scandals, the American people would be in your debt. Even if they don't know it yet.

Have fun. And don't forget to sign John Conyer's letter here.

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