Monday, October 04, 2004

The Truth about Iraq

Dean Esmay points out a web site of an organization called The Truth About Iraq. It's worth bookmarking. The organization is led by Steven Moore who, upon returning from nine months in Iraq polling Iraqis, was astounded on his return to find

how sharply his experience in Iraq differed from that being communicated on television. Even more staggering, were some of the questions being asked by average Americans who genuinely consider themselves, well-informed.

He lists four reasons for the press giving Iraq a more negative spin than the situation warrants:
  • The insurgents are very media savvy. They blow something up every day, and that is what makes the news. The journalists have a term for it - the "daily bang-bang." Even if they wanted to report on something else, they still would have to report on the explosion of the day first.

  • Western reporters operate under severe restrictions. ...You'll notice that it is rare to see a Western reporter on the scene of a story. Most do stand-ups - NBC always has the roughly pyramid shaped Babylon Hotel in the background, while CNN uses a blue mosque...

  • While Iraq is improving for Iraqis, it is an extremely unpleasant place for Westerners. ...Everyday food is pretty bad, and the bad food is awful... You are being targeted for death by the insurgents by virtue of where you are born... I can see where it doesn't take too long to lose your perspective on the good side of things.

  • A small percentage of reporters are actively slanting the story. ... For instance, I was at a party one night, chatting with a producer from one of the major networks who I had just met. After about five minutes of normal, mundane conversation, it came out that I am a Republican. She said "You Nazi!" and proceeded to go off on me for about twenty minutes.

    Of course, this doesn't color her reporting.

    Another woman at that same party, a freelancer for several major magazines, said "The entire goal of my reporting here is to make sure George W. Bush is not re-elected."

There is also a myths and facts page and a blog. Check it out.