Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., both told The Eagle editorial board in separate meetings in the past week that the media isnâ€™t reporting enough of the good news in Iraq. Tiahrt said there have been great successes, but that successes donâ€™t make the headlines. Brownback said that the media favor conflict over good news and that, on an objective basis, things are actually going well in Iraq.
Some conservative columnists also have criticized media coverage. For example, Mary Katherine Ham of Townhall.com wrote about a dispute between a St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist and the Knight Ridder reporters stationed in Iraq.
On the other hand, as I noted in a recent column, here is how Andrew Marshall, Reutersâ€™ bureau chief in Baghdad for two years, responded to such criticisms in the August issue of Editor & Publisher magazine:
“I regard the charge that journalists in Iraq are skewing their reporting and focusing â€˜too much on bad newsâ€™ as ill-informed, and a great insult to the Iraqi people. Many of those who criticize Iraq coverage seem to be suggesting that the media should somehow play down or ignore the fact that so many Iraqi civilians are being killed. . . .
“Of course, some progress is being made in Iraq. Many people in Iraq, including U.S. soldiers, are doing their best to rebuild the country and improve security. But taken in isolation, the renovation of a power plant or the opening of a new school are not a story unless placed in the wider context, and the wider context is that reconstruction is proceeding much more slowly than had been expected.”
What do you think? Are the media too negative? Does the coverage seem fair? Are the complaints politically motivated? Or, rather than hyping bad news, are the media actually sanitizing how difficult daily life really is in Iraq?
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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