Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greg Mitchell's "So Wrong for So Long"

Greg Mitchell is the editor of Editor & Publisher, the journal of the newspaper business which has won several major awards for its coverage of Iraq and the media. His books include Hiroshima in America (with Robert Jay Lifton) and The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics, and his articles have appeared in dozens of leading newspapers and magazines.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits--And the President--Failed on Iraq, and reported the following:
Perhaps unlike some authors, I would be perfectly happy if someone followed the “page 99” rule and turned there in picking up my new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq (Union Square Press). The book includes 80 essays — as well as a lot of new material, a foreword by Joe Galloway and a preface by Bruce Springsteen — and one of the pieces actually starts at the very top of the page, a rarity here. The essay in question captures the general theme of the book perfectly. Written in September 2004, it describes how a private email from a Baghdad correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Farnaz Fassihi, had become public. Why did it matter? While her writing, and that of most reporters, for publication was very “balanced” about conditions in Iraq and the state of the war effort, in her private letter she painted the outlook in extremely dark tones. Among other things she wrote that the “genie of terrorism and chaos” unleashed by the US invasion...can’t be put back into a bottle.” So I’d be happy to have that speak for the entire book — from page 99.
Read an excerpt from So Wrong for So Long at Salon, and learn more about Greg Mitchell at his blog.

--Marshal Zeringue