The good news fom Iraq is not fit to print

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

Commentary from the Boston Globe.

WHAT WAS the most important news out of Iraq last week?

No question: If you think that defeating Islamofascism, extending liberty, and transforming the Middle East are important, it’s safe to say you saw the ratification of the new constitution as the Iraqi news story of the week.

But that isn’t how the mainstream media saw it.

Consider The Washington Post. On the morning after the results of the Iraqi referendum were announced, the Post’s front page was dominated by a photograph, stretched across four columns, of three daughters at the funeral of their father, Lieutenant Colonel Leon James II, who had died from injuries suffered during a Sept. 26 bombing in Baghdad. Two accompanying stories, both above the fold, were headlined ”Military Has Lost 2,000 in Iraq” and ”Bigger, Stronger, Homemade Bombs Now to Blame for Half of US Deaths.” A nearby graphic — ”The Toll” — divided the 2,000 deaths by type of military service — active duty, National Guard, and Reserves.

From Page 1, the stories jumped to a two-page spread inside, where they were illustrated with more photographs, a series of drawings depicting roadside attacks, and a large US map showing where each fallen soldier was from. On a third inside page, meanwhile, another story was headlined ”2,000th Death Marked by Silence and a Vow.” It began: ”Washington marked the 2,000th American fatality of the Iraq war with a moment of silence in the Senate, the reading of the names of the fallen from the House floor, new protests, and a solemn vow from President Bush not to ‘rest or tire until the war on terror is won.’ ” Two photos appeared alongside, one of Bush and another of antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan. And to give the body count a local focus, there was yet another story (”War’s Toll Leaves Baltimore in Mourning”) plus four pictures of troops killed in Iraq.

The Post didn’t ignore the Iraqi election results. A story appeared on Page A13 (”Sunnis Failed to Defeat Iraq Constitution”), along with a map breaking down the vote by province. But like other leading newspapers, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times, it devoted vastly more attention to the 2,000-death ”milestone,” a statistic with no unique significance apart from the fact that it ends in round numbers.

Hostile to the war and to the administration conducting it, the nation’s leading news outlets harp on the negative and pessimistic, consistently underplaying all that is going right in Iraq. Their fixation on the number of troops who have died outweighs their interest in the cause for which those fallen heroes fought — a cause that advanced with the ratification of the new constitution.

Poll after poll confirms the public’s low level of confidence in mainstream media news. Gallup recently measured that confidence at 28 percent, an all-time low. Why such mistrust? The media’s slanted coverage of Iraq provides a pretty good clue.

 


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