Skip to comments.ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO TINT (David Reinhard)
Posted on 10/11/2007 10:47:01 AM PDT by jazusamo
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Things must be improving in Iraq, because you don't read or hear about it as much these days. If things were getting worse -- or staying the same -- you can bet the big networks and newspapers would be out spreading the news. The prestige media would be declaring Gen. David Petraeus' surge a bust and dissecting its failure in lavish, even loving, detail.
Now the best anyone can come up with is another story about Blackwater, which simply doesn't pack the wallop of Abu Ghraib and Haditha. Moreover, the recent fixation on a U.S. security firm operating in Iraq is too obvious. (Come on, guys, everybody sees what you're doing.) Abu Ghraib and Haditha became incantations of a war gone bad. The mounting war dead became an invitation for throat-clearing "quagmire" pronouncements. Abu Ghraib, Haditha, deteriorating security in Iraq -- yeah, those were the days.
Now the nation's naysayers are left with this: The U.S. military reported last week that troop deaths in Iraq went down for the fourth month in a row, and the Iraqi government reported that civilian deaths declined by half in September.
What to do? Well, CBS and NBC gave the new casualty figures a few sentences on their evening news programs, and the major papers played the news far from their front pages. Only ABC led with the story. In fact, the Washington Post's media critic, Howard Kurtz, wondered about the short-shrift the media gave this news after four years of "continuously depressing" news. On CNN's "Reliable Sources," he asked the Washington Post's Robin Wright and CNN's Barbara Starr whether the news should have received more attention. Perish the thought, they both said -- we're not sure there is a trend yet.
OK, four months is not a trend. But Kurtz then asked the obvious question: If those casualties figures had gone up, wouldn't that have made front pages? "Oh, I think inevitably it would have," replied Starr. "I mean, that . . . by any definition, is news."
OK, bad Iraq news is news, good Iraq news is not.
Even the bad news out of Iraq isn't what it used to be. Recall Haditha. In the spring of 2006, Rep. John Murtha said that Pentagon sources had told him Marines there had murdered 24 Iraqis "in cold blood" and that the cover-up of the November 2005 massacre "goes right up the chain of command." It was, for a season, the "event" that told ever so many all they needed to know about what was wrong in Iraq. Murtha said it happened because our forces are stretched too thin. It was going to be this war's My Lai -- a dark incantation summing up the whole rotten mess, a one-word dirge of our immediate disgrace and inevitable defeat. Haditha, Haditha, Haditha!
All that was missing were . . . actual facts, completed investigations and court proceedings.
Last week Haditha became not-so-much news. That is, it became good news, which, in the media's strange calculus of Iraq, is not big news.
A senior military investigator recommended dropping murder charges against Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the last ranking enlisted Marine charged in the case. Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware recommended the charges be downgraded to negligent homicide if the case went to court-martial. Earlier he had recommended that all charges be dropped against the two Marines accused of murder in Haditha. His conclusion in all three cases: insufficient evidence.
The New York Times reported the latest Haditha news back on Page 8. In May 2006, the paper had a Page One story declaring that "Military Expected to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians." Front-page charges, back-page exonerations. "Last year, when accounts of the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha by a group of Marines came to light," The Times' Paul von Zielbauer wrote Saturday, "it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity."
Perhaps Haditha did produce this war's defining atrocity, just not in the way so many once imagined. Rushing to accuse Marines of murdering two dozen Iraqi innocents "in cold blood" and alleging a cover-up "right up the chain of command" before the facts are known -- using the alleged massacre to serve your pet theories on the war's conduct or your anti-war stand when the conflict is going poorly -- this could be the war's "defining atrocity" if the progress on the ground reported recently is sustained.
I know, let's get back to Blackwater.
David Reinhard, associate editor, can be reached at 503-221-8152 or email@example.com.
Thank you, David Reinhard!
“it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity.”
The MSM knows that it has created the lasting, and erroneous, impression that Hidatha was the Iraq war’s My Lai, and the deception is calculated and deliberate.
OK, bad Iraq news is news, good Iraq news is not.
That is absolutely true - and that is why journalism is not objective. It is why journalism is inherently anticonservative.
Hi jaz! Did you read on another thread that at in Border’s parking lot yesterday, a clean cut young man knocked on my window saying he liked my Duncan Hunter bumper sticker, and began raving about DH. I opened my window and asked if he would like to have a bumper sticker, and, of course, he did.
To make a long story short, I learned that this young man has just retired from 22 years in the Navy. He was on the Missouri when President Bush visited that ship twice. He said that the media has the story on Iraq all wrong. We are doing great in Iraq, and our people serving there are exceptional, determined and enthusiastic people. HIs 18 year old son just enlisted so he could go over there.
I got some bumper stickers, a brochure and a contribution envelope out of the trunk and gave them to him. We talked for a time, exchanging names and phone numbers to work together for Rep. Hunter, and he thanked me for “the gift of meeting me”. That was so humbling to hear someone say! I think God sent me another angel yesterday! :)
Good news, doll, thanks for posting.
Another fine piece by Reinhard. Thanks for the PING
The Times' Paul von Zielbauer wrote Saturday, "it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity."
What a despicable excuse for a human. This just cements my feelings about the NYTimes; it is a rag not worth my time.
>> Things must be improving in Iraq, because you don’t read or hear about it as much these days.
Not unlike that sinking feeling when you know it’s over. In this case, Freedom is the one looking to the future in the quiet of her enemy’s despair.
Gonna have to send Mr. Reinhard a big Atta Boy for this one!