Tuesday, May 17, 2005

First Draft of History, Needs Editing: Despite my cynicism yesterday, I don't mean to dismiss the shoddy reporting done by the news media in covering this war. Yes, I am a little tired of the conservative complaints about news coverage being anti-American -- the truth is, the news will not and should not cover every new school that's built in Iraq or every flower that's handed to a soldier or Marine. If it bleeds, it leads.

That being said, there is a major problem with the current meme that's perpetuated by the media, that the war in Iraq is a mistake, we're making everything worse, and the Bush administration has some hidden/incompetent agenda up its sleeve. This is all false, and the media needs to bring its coverage a little more toward the reality on the ground.

Glenn Reynolds, in one of the rare instances where he actually posts his own thoughts instead of just linking to somebody else's, lays out how the charges.

When you go out of your way to report the bad news, and bury the good news, when you're credulous toward critics (remember the Boston Globe porn photos?) and treat all positive news as presumptive lies, and when it's clear that the enemy relies on press behavior in planning its campaigns, then you've got a problem. Huffing and puffing in response isn't constructive.
Christopher Hitchens nails The New York Times in his latest Slate article. And what he writes could essentially apply to any press coverage.

I don't think the New York Times ever referred to those who devastated its hometown's downtown as "insurgents." But it does employ this title every day for the gang headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. With pedantic exactitude, and unless anyone should miss the point, this man has named his organization "al-Qaida in Mesopotamia" and sought (and apparently received) Osama Bin Laden's permission for the franchise.


That's not to say that the paper doesn't have a long memory. Having once read in high school that violence is produced by underlying social conditions, the author of this appalling article refers in lenient terms to "the goal of ridding Iraq of an American presence, a goal that may find sympathy among Iraqis angry about poor electricity and water service and high unemployment." Bet you hadn't thought of that: The water and power are intermittent, so let's go and blow up the generating stations and the oil pipelines. No job? Shoot up the people waiting to register for employment. To the insult of flattering the psychopaths, Bennet adds his condescension to the suffering of ordinary Iraqis, who are murdered every day while trying to keep essential services running.
Now the press and those on the Left want to hang on to this flushing Koran story. Their argument is that some former Gitmo detainees have made this accusation. But Al Qaeda teaches its followers to lie about treatment under captivity. It's in the handbook.

Why do critics want to believe Al Qaeda terrorists over their own government? Yes, our government has lied before, and will continue to do so. But I still trust the people who are trying to protect me more than the ones who want to kill me, and I wish the anti-war nuts would do the same.

Our government is rooting out the torture conducted in our prison camps and is prosecuting the criminals. We are fighting against dictators and groups that employ torture cheerfully. While we shouldn't ignore the bad things that happen under our watch, we shouldn't attack our government and simultaneously give our enemies a pass.

Kevin Drum had a good post today about how conservatives outnumber liberals and that the Left needs to reach out to the Middle in order to win. My suggestion, start actively supporting our methods in the War on Terrorism. That includes what's going on in Iraq.


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