Bad News: How the Media Marched Us to War in Iraq and Beyond

American mainstream media utterly failed its duty to the public in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, largely opting to cheerlead (rather than question) the Bush administration’s arguments and plans for the war.  Twenty years later, the consequences of this failure still reverberate. Has the media learned any lessons from the Iraq war, or are journalists today repeating the very same mistakes? What does media coverage of recent events — like President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan,  President Trump’s strikes on Syria, or Russia’s war in Ukraine — tell us about the fourth estate’s approach to American foreign policy and wars? Join us on Wednesday, March 22, from 4–5:30 PM ET online or in-person at the Lindner Family Commons of George Washington University’s Elliott School for a discussion of the media’s role in war and peace. We’ll be joined by three journalists who have gotten it right — Reuters’ Jonathan Landay, one of the few mainstream journalists to challenge the administration’s WMD claims, Responsible Statecraft’s Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, who took on Bush’s war policies from heterodox conservative platforms, and Jewish Currents’ Peter Beinart, who as an editor of the New Republic supported the war but later became a leading critic — for a discussion moderated by Breaking Points’ Krystal Ball, a clarion voice in modern media for independent analysis on U.S. foreign policy. This event is sponsored by the Quincy Institute, with co-sponsorship from the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, The Nation magazine, and Breaking Points podcast, and additional support from the John Quincy Adams Society’s George Washington University Chapter.


Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart contributes frequently to The New York Times, is editor-at-large of Jewish Currents and writes The Beinart Notebook on He is a professor of journalism and political science at The Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace and an MSNBC political commentator. His work centers on the nexus of domestic and foreign policy and politics. From 1999 to 2006 he was the editor of The New Republic. His books include The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism. He recently wrote a New York Times op-ed on U.S. sanctions entitled: "America's Other Forever War."

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and editorial director of its online magazine, Responsible Statecraft. Previously she served as executive editor, managing editor, and longtime foreign policy/national security writer at The American Conservative magazine. She also spent 15 years as an online political reporter at Fox News. Vlahos earned her degree in Journalism-Mass Media at Central Connecticut State University and worked her way through local and regional newspapers in her home state of Connecticut, including The New Britain Herald and The Torrington Register Citizen. She is co-host of the Crashing the War Party podcast with Daniel Larison and Barbara Boland.

Jonathan Landay

Jonathan S. Landay, a U.S. national security correspondent for Reuters, has written about foreign affairs and U.S. defense, intelligence, and foreign policies for more than 30 years. In his current position, he covers intelligence and defense issues, terrorism, nuclear weapons, and arms control policies and focuses on U.S. foreign policy toward Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East. He is a co-recipient of the 2003 Raymond Clapper Memorial Award, the highest award for Washington journalism, for his work for the Knight Ridder papers disclosing the Bush administration’s use of bogus and exaggerated intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Krystal Ball (Moderator)

Krystal Ball is co-host of the independent political news show Breaking Points, which is frequently ranked the number 1 news podcast on Spotify. She is co-author with Saagar Enjeti of the best-selling book “The Populist’s Guide to 2020.” She also co-hosts a left leaning political podcast, Krystal Kyle & Friends. Krystal previously served as an anchor on MSNBC where she co-hosted The Cycle for 5 years. She was also the Democratic nominee for Congress in 2010, in her hometown district in Virginia. She can be found on Twitter at @krystalball, Instagram @krystalmball, and on YouTube at