Surprising column for tomorrow's NYT by the very active new public editor Margaret Sullivan (yes, I know her a bit from E&P days): questioning the paper's coverage of U.S. drone warfare--and even quotes Glenn Greenwald. Just for starters: "You start with uncertain information from dubious sources. Pass it along, run it through the media blender, add pundits, and you’ve got something that may or may not be close to the truth. How many people have been killed by these unmanned aircraft in the Central Intelligence Agency’s strikes in Yemen and Pakistan? How many of the dead identified as “militants” are really civilians? How many are children?" The Times, she says, has done some good reporting but still falls short.
Since the article in May, its reporting has not aggressively challenged the administration’s description of those killed as “militants” — itself an undefined term. And it has been criticized for giving administration officials the cover of anonymity when they suggest that critics of drones are terrorist sympathizers.
Americans, according to polls, have a positive view of drones, but critics say that’s because the news media have not informed them well. The use of drones is deepening the resentment of the United States in volatile parts of the world and potentially undermining fragile democracies, said Naureen Shah, who directs the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia University’s law school.