New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan characterized the paper’s Syria coverage as not “sufficiently skeptical” of President Obama’s case for war. Going further, Sullivan accused her paper of using the administration’s voice rather than their own in reporting:
I’ve been observing The Times’s Syria coverage and its editorials for many weeks, with an eye to this question. While The Times has offered deep and rich coverage from both Washington and the Syrian region, the tone cannot be described as consistently skeptical. I have noticed in recent weeks the ways that other major newspapers have signaled to their readers that they mean to question the government’s assertions. For example, although it may seem superficial, The Washington Post has sent a strong message when it has repeatedly used the word “alleged” in its main headlines to describe the chemical weapons attacks.
I have also found that The Times sometimes writes about the administration’s point of view in The Times’s own voice rather than providing distance through clear attribution.
As the debate for military action in Syria begins, it will be interesting to see how media outlets respond after years of accusing the Bush Administration of “misleading” them and the America people on the reasons for the Iraq War.