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Iraq Around the Clock: The First Internet War
by
Posted On March 31, 2003
This war is a peculiar thing. In a natural disaster, most of us can agree which Web sites would be helpful. But in this conflict, nothing is clear. To some Americans, we are fighting to liberate Iraqis from a monstrous oppressor. To others, it seems like a naked grab by a lone superpower for the second largest oil field in the world. To many Arabs, Muslims in particular, U.S. military action in Iraq is tantamount to an assault in a holy war.

All sides are certain of the moral correctness of their beliefs. Their intense emotions make the concept of reporting the "news" difficult. One person's unbiased story is another's flagrant propaganda.

As Kinsey Wilson, vice president of USAToday.com, noted recently, "The best (Web) sites can move quickly to develop a story in multiple directions, add depth and detail, and give readers their own pathways to explore."

In other words, the Web offers "news" for every persuasion.


The Best Mainstream Media
Not too dovish, not too hawkish, these sites do their best to offer in-depth yet balanced reports.

MSNBC.com
http://msnbc.com
This NBC/Microsoft hybrid is doing everything well in delivering news of this war. The latest war news headlines scroll in JavaScript on the top of the splash page. On the right is a list of about nine major "Target: Iraq" hyperlinks. Scroll down to click into free video feed, including a live downtown Baghdad-cam with sound: "Boom! Boom!" (CNN.com and ABC.com also offer streaming video, but they charge for it.) Newsweek, an MSNBC partner, offers a link to its "Targeting Baghdad" interactive satellite map. MSNBC.com offers links to its other partners, too: Washingtonpost.com, Microsoft Encarta articles about war and the Middle East, and the content of Microsoft's sassy online magazine, Slate. Find links to war-related Web logs here, too.

The New York Times: International Special
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/worldspecial/index.html
Here is a special edition of the Times site devoted to complete coverage of the Iraqi conflict. First, read a summary of the day's war-related events. Then, browse the reports of more than two dozen correspondents and photographers from The New York Times as they cover the war from all around the Middle East. After that, gear up for some multimedia: listen to BBC radio reports or watch Page One, a three-minute streaming video filmed every weekday evening that discusses the next day's headlines. Finish off with a look at an interactive map of Iraq, questions from readers answered by the Times' Kuwait City bureau chief, and a reading list of recent books about Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

Online NewsHour: The Iraq War
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/iraq/
Can't tell your Basra from your Kerbala? Here's a site that is designed to teach as well as report. Not only does it categorize the current situation in Iraq into several sections, but it includes a map and biographies of major players, as well as a section intended to help students and teachers understand and think about the war.

NPR: The Middle East
http://www.npr.org/news/specials/mideast/transcripts/index.html
Get complete transcripts of recent shows about the conflict in the Middle East free of charge.

Hawks
Those in favor of a U.S. attack on Iraq can find news favorable to their cause at these sites.

A Decade of Defiance and Deception
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/
Hear and see the arguments for "Operation Iraqi Freedom" directly from the Bush administration in the latest Web multimedia formats.

The O'Reilly Factor
http://www.foxnews.com/oreilly/index.html
From boycotting French products to implying that anti-war protestors are terrorists, count on Bill O'Reilly to give you the conservative take on the war—and everything else! O'Reilly's FOX News network takes its right-leaning tone from its owner, Rupert Murdoch.

National Review Online
http://www.nationalreview.com/

The National Review reports the news from a thoughtful, conservative point of view. Read its "At War: Iraq" selection of articles about the conflict, and dive into Web logs from Jed Babbin and David Frum.


Doves
Web users who think that the war is a bad idea can turn here for news, solace, and advice.

Democracy Now!
http://www.democracynow.org/
Democracy Now! is a national, listener-sponsored public radio and TV show committed to bringing the voices of the marginalized to the airwaves on issues ranging from the global to the local.

International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism!)
http://www.internationalanswer.org/
Ever wonder how people hear about anti-war rallies? The answer? A.N.S.W.E.R. Visit the site to get the goods on the next big rally.

United for Peace
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/
United for Peace & Justice is a national campaign that brings together more than 70 peace and justice organizations from across the U.S. to help coordinate the work against a U.S. war on Iraq. This is an excellent portal not only for news of upcoming rallies, but for links to progressive news outlets and resources for protesting.

News from the Middle East
What do the folks who live in the paths of bombs have to say about all this?

Al-Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.net
Al-Jazeera, a satellite news agency based in Qatar, is an unusually independent voice in the Arab world. It has been called "the Arab CNN." It planned to launch an English version of its site by the end of March. But the network's Web site suffered denial-of-service attacks and hacking since it showed pictures of dead and captive U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Now, both the English and the Arabic versions of the site are down. But, they could come back at any time.

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security
http://debka.com/
"We Start Where the Media Stop," claims this Israeli news site. It reports and analyzes news stories about international terrorism, intelligence, international conflict, Islam, military affairs, security and politics. Sometimes it scoops a story that major media outlets miss. But just as often, it is dead wrong about the events it reports. Use with interest and caution.

DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/
It isn't news from Iraq, it's from Pakistan. But it has a Muslim point of view and it is in English.


Directories
If you want more about the war than the few sites that I have provided, dive into these high quality directories and follow your own path.

War and Peace: Resources Related to the Current Iraq Crisis
http://lii.org/search/warandpeace
Karen G. Schneider and over 100 other librarian-contributors scour the Web to bring you annotated, searchable, quality links about the current conflict.

Al's Iraq Resources
http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=2&aid=18641
Al Tompkins, group leader for Broadcast and Online at the Poynter Institute, offers fantastic links to "news from and about Iraq." The problem is that most of the Iraqi resources are now off the air due to U.S. bombing in Baghdad. Still, this is the best place to start to hear voices from Iraq and even the Kurds. Also, check out the links to background information about the buildup to the war.


Irene E. McDermott is a reference librarian/system manager at San Marino Public Library and a columnist for Searcher.

Email Irene E. McDermott

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