Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Can the News Media Get It Right?


It's a little depressing sometimes to reflect on the disproportionate weight the major news media give to bad news out of Iraq (by "bad" news I mean anything that puts the Bush Administration in a bad light). Here is a piece by Debra Orin in the New York Post that provides even more evidence of this. She reports that a public screening in Washington of torture videos from Iraq drew almost no press interest.

As Ms. Orin notes:

"Terrorism is sometimes called asymmetric warfare — America had to adjust to new tactics to deal with small bands of terrorists who were able to turn our airplanes into weapons against us. Now it turns out that we also face asymmetric propaganda — where the terrorists gain a p.r. advantage precisely because what they do is so horrific that our media aren't able to deal with it.

"The U.S. military hasn't figured out a strategic way to deal with this problem.

"But neither has the press. . . . Reporters have to face up to the fact that right now, if we highlight the wrongs that Americans commit but not — out of squeamishness — the far worse horrors committed by others, we become propaganda tools for the other side."

"This isn't to argue in any way against reporting the Abu Ghraib scandal. But reporters have to face up to the problems — and find ways to achieve a more balanced account.

"Saddam's torture videos may be too awful to show, but it's hard to explain the low media interest in the story of seven Iraqi men who had their right hands chopped off by Saddam's thugs — and then got new prosthetic arms and new hope in America.

"They're eloquent, they're available, they're grateful for the U.S. liberation of Iraq. No one can better talk about Saddam's tortures — and no one is more eager to do so. Yet, as of yesterday, the New York Times had written 177 stories on Abu Ghraib — with over 40 on the front page. The self-proclaimed 'paper of record' hadn't written a single story about those seven Iraqi men."

Meanwhile, such trash as Michael Moore's movie, "Farenheit 911" is adoringly reviewed by the news media. We saw a brief interview between Moore and Matt Lauer of the Today Show this morning. It was hard to believe how seriously such media forces take Mr. Moore. Here's a review of his movie that tells you all you need to know about whether it's worth seeing.

Like we said, it's a little depressing that the coalition is righting such enormous wrongs but getting so little credit for it, while such charlatans as Moore receive adoring treatment.


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