The Media as Junkyard Dog: One Journalist’s Journey From Secret CIA Prisons to the Walter Reed Scandal
Dana Priest, Pulitzer Prize winner, and the reporter who “broke the story” on Walter Reed Hospital. What is the role of the mainstream media during a time of war and growing government secrecy? Priest takes us through the obstacle course, with all its trapped doors and moral dilemmas she encounters everyday in reporting during a time of great national angst and fear of terrorism.
While the “War on Terror” and the debate about its constitutionality continues, concerns about the system of American democracy and its morality are at the center of our national life. As the link between the government and the American public, the media are responsible for informing American citizens about Federal policies and practices, and the government’s actions and inactions. But what happens if the government withholds such information from the media? Does the Bush administration have the right to operate in secrecy? The treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, Guantanamo Bay and CIA “black-sites,” and of wounded American soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. raises questions about what can happen when the government functions without a great deal of oversight. Reporting on national issues has rarely been as difficult as it is today. As network news anchor Dan Rather put it, “There has never been an American war, small or large, in which access has been so limited as this one.” (BBC Newsnight, May 2002) In this time of war, what role should the media play? Is there a conflict between legality, ethics, national security and defense? And what exactly does having freedom of the press really mean?
journalism, freedom of the press, media and war, government oversight, national security
Civic and Community Engagement | Journalism Studies | Public Affairs
Priest, Dana. "The Media as Junkyard Dog: One Journalist’s Journey From Secret CIA Prisons to the Walter Reed Scandal." Ensemble video, 1:23:26. October 10, 2007. https://ensemble.dickinson.edu/Watch/Eb95Djm3