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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Olympia

Toppling Saddam, and whether the Fourth Estate has become a Fifth Column…

Moved by television images of U.S. troops and Baghdad residents toppling a statue of Saddam Hussein, Sen. Don Benton on Wednesday praised the American military effort in Iraq.
“It’s awfully hard to contain your pride and enthusiasm for what America’s been able to accomplish in three short weeks,” he said in a speech on the state Senate floor Wednesday.
Sen. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, was less happy with the television coverage. He said he’s tired of reporters and pundits “trying to second-guess” the military.
“Our troops are not only fighting the Iraqis. They’re also fighting the reporters,” Deccio said.
He added that reporters in a war zone shouldn’t blame the military if they get killed. A U.S. airstrike hit an Arab TV network this week, killing one journalist. And an American tank killed two more reporters when it fired on the Palestine Hotel, home to hundreds of journalists, many of them American.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, stuck up for the press, saying that the Bill of Rights and press freedom have made America strong.
“With all due respect, I think it’s very important to acknowledge that those in the press and the media who have gone over to Iraq are also risking their lives to get us coverage,” she said.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.