Fisk heads Downing Street list of media sceptics

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Robert Fisk, The Independent's Middle East correspondent, occupied first and second places in a list of "10 media views which have proved to be wrong" on the war in Afghan-istan. The list is in a publicity document issued by Downing Street to mark 100 days of the "war on terrorism".

Entitled "100 Days ... 100 Ways", the document – presented in characteristic, easily digestible No 10 format – included lists of "10 challenges now facing Afghanistan", "10 things that have changed in Afghanistan since toppling the Taliban" (led by "people can listen and dance to music") and "10 chilling Bin Laden/ al-Qa'ida statements".

Excerpts from articles by Robert Fisk headed the 10th and last list, which enumerated views expressed in the media that opposed British support for the campaign. The two articles cited were published on 11 and 8 November. In one, Mr Fisk said that: "So far, he [bin Laden] hasn't put a foot wrong." In the other, he asked: "If the US attacks were an assault on 'civilisation', why shouldn't Muslims regard the Afghanistan attack as a war on Islam?"

Other writers and commentators quoted in the list included John Pilger in the Mirror, George Monbiot in The Guardian, and Susan Sontag in The New Yorker magazine. All questioned the wisdom of the campaign and cast doubt on its prospects of success.

A counterpart document was issued by the White House on the same day. Entitled "The first 100 days", it was prefaced by a quotation from President George Bush: "We are supported by the collective will of the world". The document forbore to comment on media assessments of the campaign.

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