I just finished seeing Bill Moyers' excellent documentary on the media's performance in the run-up to the Iraq war. It reminded me of a detail that I haven't heard mentioned since. In the first hours of the invasion, CNN and other outlets reported that the U.S. was in secret talks with Iraqi Generals to secure their surrender. After the invasion, when no such surrenders were forthcoming, there were no follow-ups.
Obviously, this was a psy-op tactic. Nothing would sow havoc in the Iraqi chain of command more than having Saddam think that he might be betrayed by his top military officers. If the U.S. military were truly in possession of such information, they certainly wouldn't make it public; that would risk the cooperation of these officers, or maybe their removal.
The media was used, and I have to imagine that they must have at least suspected that they were being used. If it had worked, maybe American lives might have been saved during the invasion. Is a journalist justified in betraying his vocation by lying, even when it might save lives?