Journalism's Surreal Reality Check

"Suddenly, dramatically, unalterably the world has changed," observes Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. "And that means journalism will also change, indeed is changing before our eyes. The presidency will become a constant focus in ways not seen since the height of Ronald Reagan's struggle against the so-called Evil Empire. Reporting on the military, the spy services, diplomacy and global terrorism will heat up after years of back burner status." Kurtz also thinks that government censorship of the press may see a revival. "During World War II, reporters wore uniforms and submitted to censorship," he writes. "During Vietnam, much of the press turned against that agonizing conflict, fueling the Nixon administration's covert war against the Fourth Estate. ... 'We have lived in an environment where the media in this country has been able to establish an independent and adversarial relationship, even when American lives could be lost,' says Alex Jones, director of Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press. 'I think the government and the military are going to want to renegotiate the deal.' The terms will include 'what is considered fair game, what is considered appropriate lines of questioning, what is reasonable disclosure of embarrassing information. ... There's going to be pressure to get in line -- much more pressure for self-censorship and coerced censorship of any information on what our intelligence capabilities are.'&nbsp"