Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘msm’

Sickening media gloating

Posted by Richard on November 6, 2012

After a bit of flipping around the network election coverage, I’m just disgusted by what I see in the wake of the Obama victory. The expressions of the “objective reporters” on the broadcast networks range from jubilant to smug to gloating. Tonight they know that, despite the information revolution and the growth of new media, they’re still able to shape the debate, filter the news, and influence a significant portion of the population.

One example: In the last seven weeks, the MSM actively and successfully abetted the Obama administration in the Benghazi-gate coverup. One of the recent examples is CBS withholding until this past weekend of the fact that it had an unaired portion of Obama’s 60 Minutes interview that proves Obama lied in the foreign policy debate  — and that moderator Candy Crowley was factually wrong in backing Obama’s claim (as well as being totally out of line).

Another example: The exit polls suggest that a lot of the last-minute deciders were persuaded to vote Obama because of how well he “handled” Superstorm Sandy. In reality, he did nothing — nothing! — to “handle” Sandy. The federal government’s response was no better than it was during Katrina — and such as it was, the President had no hand in it whatsoever. He was preoccupied by fundraisers and campaign appearances. But a few well-staged photo ops and tons of fawning and supportive media coverage created the opposite impression.

Many years ago, Ayn Rand argued that restoring the United States to its pro-freedom, individualist, capitalist roots would require not just a political change but a philosophical change — a change in cultural values, if you will. In the wake of the Reagan Revolution, and again after 9/11 starkly illustrated the difference between the advocates of reason and the Enlightenment and their enemies, Rand’s argument was ignored or forgotten. But neither political change proved to be lasting. Rand was right. And she was right in saying that, to change the values of the mass of the American people, you first have to change the values of the intelligentsia. A good place to start would be the nation’s journalism schools.

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Newsweak news

Posted by Richard on October 18, 2012

A couple of years ago, when the Washington Post sold Newsweek to Sydney Harman for $1, some wags said he paid too much. Now, Newsweek editor Tina Brown has announced that it’s ceasing print publication and will be online only.

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose reaction was, “Newsweek has a website?”

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“You’re struggling, Andrea, you’re struggling”

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2012

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “interviewed” John Sununu (“debated” is more accurate) and once again revealed herself to be an Obama administration shill pretending to be a journalist. But this six-minute video clip isn’t just another ho-hum example of media bias. Sununu cleaned Mitchell’s clock, and on several occasions, the expression on her face is a hoot. Must-see TV.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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More doctoring by NBC/MSNBC

Posted by Richard on June 19, 2012

The NBC “news” organization, which doctored the tape of the George Zimmerman 911 call to make him appear to be a racist, has done it again. This time, they doctored video of Mitt Romney to make him appear to be out of touch with the ordinary, day-to-day experiences of average Americans like ordering a sandwich at a sub shop.

It was a blatant attempt to reprise the Bush supermarket scanner story (which was declared false by Snopes, by the way), and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell explicitly compared it to that incident.

In fact, Romney was simply comparing how private businesses, thanks to competition and innovation, make things easier and easier for their customers while the federal government makes things harder and harder. So he contrasted the ease of ordering a sub from a touch-screen with the difficulty an optometrist faced when trying to change his address (a 32-page form!) and get paid money the federal government owed him (a multi-month process). You can see the whole segment at NewsBusters (link above).

But you’d never know any of that context from seeing the carefully edited MSNBC clip. Or the slightly longer clip (still omitting all the context, and also at Newsbusters link above) that Mitchell showed in response to criticism.

Expect more of this between now and November. Much more. Especially from NBC/MSNBC, but from other MSM outlets also. They’re totally in the tank for Obama and willing to do virtually anything to manipulate public opinion on his behalf.

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Is ABC News helping or hurting Newt?

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2012

Matt Drudge reports that ABC News is sitting on an interview with Newt Gingrich’s first wife, Marianne, that contains “explosive revelations.” On my way home, I heard Hugh Hewitt tell his radio audience that they’re withholding the interview until after the South Carolina primary in order to protect Newt and hurt Romney in that state. But now, on his website, he’s acknowledged another possibility:

… The leak of the story of the interview of Marianne Gingrich without details may actually do more damage to Newt than the interview itself, but it is amazing that a network news operation is sitting on a big story three days before an election.

I question Hewitt’s original contention, as well as his use of “actually” and “but” in that sentence. I think it’s likely that the story was leaked to hurt Gingrich, not Romney. The MSM have been largely pro-Romney (after the attempt to elevate Huntsman’s candidacy fizzled). As in 2008, they’re favoring the most moderate Republican — until after he’s nominated, and then they’ll suddenly discover that he’s a right-wing extremist.

South Carolina has a high percentage of evangelical voters. Leaking the claim that Gingrich’s first wife has dirt on him is going to be damaging even if her revelations later turn out to be no big deal. If nothing else, it reminds those evangelicals of Gingrich’s sorry marital history.

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Olberman in memoriam

Posted by Richard on November 6, 2010

OK, let me start by saying I think MSNBC's suspension of Keith Olberman is stupid and unfair. It's not that I feel sorry for this annoying POS, who is perhaps the most obnoxious poltroon ever to grace the airwaves. But, despite the fact that MSNBC allowed this clown pretending to be a journalist to actually anchor what they call "hard" news, the fact that he was a rabid left-wing partisan was never a secret to anyone with an IQ above room temperature.

To think that three donations to Socialist Democrat candidates would somehow damage Olberman's "credibility" as an "objective journalist" is just laughable. Olberman, the sports reporter with pretensions of grandeur? The pompous blowhard with the ridiculous Edward R. Murrow impersonation? The sneering, self-righteous windbag who routinely spewed forth the most vitriolic, mean-spirited, leftist commentary of anyone ever given access to a microphone?

Forget Olberman's history for a moment. This is the network of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Contessa Brewer, and Ed Schultz, for cryin' out loud. Are we supposed to believe that they're all still pure, unbiased, objective journalists because they haven't been caught contributing to Socialist Democrat candidates? Do the MSNBC execs really think they can maintain the illusion of impartiality by banning contributions to the cause their network pimps for every hour of the day? It is to laugh. 

Anyway, this "Keith Olberman – In Memoriam" video from Reason.tv is pretty funny. And despite the unfairness of his fate, I'm sure not shedding any tears for the a$$hole.


[YouTube link]

HT: Instapundit

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Who you gonna believe, CBS or your own lyin’ eyes?

Posted by Richard on October 31, 2010

Crowd estimates are notoriously problematic, typically all over the map, and ultimately not very meaningful. Especially when you're comparing estimates for two very dissimilar events. For instance, an event where people came at their own expense from all over the country to hear Glenn Beck and a few others speak versus essentially a rock concert featuring big-name bands to which Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, several big unions, and numerous colleges and schools provided free transportation from numerous East Coast locations — those are pretty dissimilar events.

The reporting of crowd estimates, however, can sometimes be interesting. For instance, in August CBS News claimed that 87,000 people attended Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally (by far the lowest estimate). Today, they breathlessly proclaimed that 215,000 attended the Stewart/Colbert "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" and pointedly made the comparison to the Beck rally. 

OK, let's compare a couple of pictures. Freeper keypro has shots of each crowd side by side. They're not at the same location, which complicates the comparison. But he or she has put a map below them with ovals outlining the area covered by each photo, and that helps. Go ahead, take a look. Compare the pictures. Compare the area covered by each. Zoom in, if your browser permits.

I'll wait until you get back. 

.
.
.

Now you tell me — does the crowd in the Stewart picture (on the right) look 2.5 times as big as the crowd in the Beck picture? Heck, does it even look as big? Even close? (OK, maybe close. Like I said, it's problematic.)

Personally, I think CBS is still operating from the Dan Rather playbook. "Fake but accurate."

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Another unexpected jobless claims report

Posted by Richard on September 23, 2010

Reuters is reporting that "New claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week." AP says "claims for unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week" — although they've now rewritten the story to put the emphasis on a "modest rise in home sales." [Yeah, monthly home sales went from the worst in over a decade (July) to the second-worst in over a decade (August). Whoop-de-doo!]

Has any mainstream media source had a bad-news story about the economy in the past year or so that didn't include the modifier "unexpected" or "unexpectedly"? I don't know to what extent that's a conscious effort to manipulate public opinion; the liberal intelligentsia seems honestly puzzled that the administration's "brilliant" Keynesian fiscal and monetary policies aren't working. Their faith in big government solutions is as unshakable as a snake handler's faith that the Lord will protect him (and as rational).  

I've frequently thought to myself, "If I had a dollar for every story about "unexpected" unemployment news, I could retire to the south of France." I decided to take a minute with Google to test the theory: "unemployment+unexpected" (sans quotes) returned almost 2.5 million hits, and "jobless+unexpected" (sans quotes) returned almost 4 million. 

OTOH, if I restrict those searches to news from 2008-2010, they return only about 8,000 results. But a number of those listings reference multiple sources, and some conclude with links like "all 787 news articles»" — so maybe I'd have trouble swinging a villa on the Riviera, but I'll bet I could take a nice long vacation there. 🙂

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While you watched a tennis match, debt grew by $1.7 billion

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

Even non-tennis-fans like me are aware of and amazed by the Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which took 11 hours and 5 minutes (Isner won; I got it wrong when I first posted). Shortly after it ended, Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida tweeted, "Think Wimbledon tickets are expensive? Our National Debt has gone up by $1,729,000,000 during the Isner v. Mahut match."

An interesting factoid. If true. The folks at the St. Petersburg Times' PolitiFact.com decided to fact-check his ass. They determined that not only was he right, he arrived at the number using the most conservative methodology (well, he is a conservative). 

PolitiFact.com initially assumed (quite reasonably, IMHO) that "during the Isner v. Mahut match" meant the time period from when it started until it ended — about two days. Depending on whether they used CBO numbers or OMB numbers, they came up with figures four to six times larger than Buchanan's: 

Why so different? We contacted Buchanan's office and an aide clarified that what they'd actually meant in the tweet was how much the debt had risen during the 11-hour, 5-minute match itself. (The match was suspended for darkness twice and there were delays on the third day to give extra rest time.)

So, using our first method, the 11-hour debt increase works out to $1.718 billion, while using the second, it's about $2.4 billion. Of these two, the first is spot-on.

Since the size of the federal debt is a moving target, and since economists periodically re-evaluate its size, we'll grant Buchanan leeway here. While we think the wording of his tweet suggests the full, 48-hour period, his 11-hour number strikes us as a reasonable estimate. So we rate his statement True. 

Not just true, but conservatively true. 🙂 

But what really gave me a laugh was the USA Today story about Buchanan's estimate. Although they quoted Buchanan's tweet, and thus had the correct number ($1,729,000,000), they described it in the headline as "$1.7T" — "T" as in trillion. That's off by a factor of 1000.

They've since corrected it, but a commenter, urbanrealtor, noted that they weren't exactly open and above-board in their handling of the gaffe: 

I like how when they fixed the error (originally this article said 1.7 Trillion) they deleted all the comments making fun of the mistake. 

They shouldn't have tried to cover their embarrassment by deleting comments (and wording their correction so vaguely). But I can understand their mistake. For one thing, in my experience, most journalists are extremely math-challenged. For another, in this Age of Obama, it's natural for all his MSM sycophants to assume that everything is in the trillions. [rimshot]

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Public gets media bias

Posted by Richard on September 8, 2008

A new Rasmussen poll makes it clear that the mainstream media aren't fooling too many people with their claims of objectivity:

According to Rasmussen, fully 68% of voters believe that "most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win." And — no surprise — 49% of those surveyed believe reporters are backing Barack Obama, while just 14% think the media is in the tank for Sen. McCain.

Meanwhile, 51% of those surveyed thought the press was "trying to hurt" Mrs. Palin with its coverage.

Perhaps most troubling for the press corps, though, was this finding: "55% said media bias is a bigger problem for the electoral process than large campaign donations."

Ironically, the MSM may be working so hard on behalf of Obama that they seriously undermine him.

Given those poll numbers, I'm thinking that if the Republicans are smart, they'll secretly work to get Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews reinstated. In fact, they ought to be pushing for Keith Olberman to host NBC's Nightly News!

(HT: LGF

 

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Networks to handle PR for Obama campaign trip

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2008

Barack Obama is getting ready for his "fact-finding" trip to the Middle East (his first trip to Iraq since a two-day visit in Jan. 2006, and his first visit ever to Afghanistan), combined with some European campaign stops. It's not clear what facts he wants to find or why, since he's already assured his far-left, anti-war core supporters that nothing he learns will change his plan to begin the U.S. retreat orderly withdrawal from Iraq immediately and on a fixed timetable.

Maybe Obama is channeling the Queen of Hearts: "Sentence first — verdict afterwards." 

But reportedly, Obama has agreed to meet with Gen. Petraeus, Lt. Gen. Odierno, and Prime Minister Maliki without preconditions. 

The big news, though, is that NBC, ABC, and CBS have all independently decided (based purely on their objective journalistic judgment of the news value, I'm sure) to make the trip — and fawning interviews with candidate they adore — the centerpiece of their respective evening propaganda news broadcasts next week:

The three network anchors will travel to Europe and the Middle East next week for Barack Obama's trip, adding their high-wattage spotlight to what is already shaping up as a major media extravaganza.

Lured by an offer of interviews with the Democratic presidential candidate, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric will make the overseas trek, meaning that the NBC, ABC and CBS evening newscasts will originate from stops along the route and undoubtedly give it big play.

John McCain has taken three foreign trips in the past four months, all unaccompanied by a single network anchor.

Gee, is Katie Couric still anchoring the CBS Evening News? I guess both her viewers will really be looking forward to her Obama interview. 

Regarding the coverage of McCain's trips, Investor's Business Daily noted:

Not only did the anchors pass on those tours, their respective networks "provided little if any coverage of any of them," according to an analysis by the Media Research Center. When McCain was in Europe and the Middle East for a week in March, the networks that will immortalize Obama's triumphant tour carried only four full stories on the trip.

"CBS did not even send a correspondent along" and offered "only one report consisting of only 31 words" over 10 seconds for "the entire week Sen. McCain was abroad," the MRC reports.

The media blackout of McCain's trips to Colombia and Canada was even worse, since those trips highlighted clear foreign policy differences between McCain and Obama and important campaign issues worthy of some serious coverage.

The media, which seem endlessly interested when Obama downs a hot dog or picks up a basketball, and which feel a collective tingle in their legs whenever he speaks, couldn't even limit their description of the junior senator's haircut to 31 words.

The liberal national media are free to put all their resources into Obama coverage, encourage Americans to vote for him and ignore McCain entirely. Our Constitution gives them the liberty to do just that. What rankles us is the facade of objectivity they put up. All we're asking for is some honesty.

I wonder if anyone will have the stones to complain to the Federal Election Commission that the networks' massive and costly public relations efforts in support of the Obama campaign constitute "in-kind" contributions in violation of the campaign finance laws (the ones that all right-thinking people like Obama and McCain support). 

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Are AP stories warrantied?

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2008

If you read any blogs at all, you've probably heard about the AP copyright kerfuffle. First, the AP went after the left-wing blog Drudge Retort for posting excerpts (33 to 79 words) from AP stories. Now, they want you to pay for permission to post excerpts, and the fee schedule starts at 5-25 words ($12.50). Apparently, the concept of fair use is utterly unknown to them.

They have a whole menu (with submenus!) of usage categories and fees. To check it out, go to this interesting story (which I don't dare tell you about because I might use the same words they do) and click Reuse Options above the headline (which I can't quote because it's more than five words). Select Post on Your Website… (that's four words; can't tell you the other two), and on the submenu, scroll down and select Excerpt for Web Use (whew, only four words in that one). Hey, they offer educational and non-profit discounts!

It must be nice being a really big-time blogger who rates media attention, because you can play turnabout. With a little effort, Michelle Malkin found two instances in the last two months when an AP story quoted something from her blog. Since their stories are published in many places, she's calculated (using their fee schedule) that they owe her and one of her commenters $132,125.

Allahpundit wondered:

What’s their game here, seriously? They’re turning themselves into laughingstocks and blogosphere pariahs while drumming up business for Reuters and AFP. If they’re trying to establish some sort of bright line beyond which excerpts can’t go without triggering infringement, then why not just lay down some reasonable-ish policy — two paragraphs maximum, say — and wait for someone to violate it, then sue to see if a court will enforce it? (Suspected answer: Because the court probably won’t and the AP knows it.) I’m mystified by their thought process.

But commenter Tantor had some really great questions about the AP policy:

If you buy words from a story by AP that turns out to be of defective quality or enemy propaganda presented as truth, what is their refund policy? Do you get your money back if the story is fake? Or maybe free words from some story in the future that is true? How long do you have to wait for a true story to appear?

What about fake photos? If AP foists some photoshopped photos from some terrorist sympathizer on you as absolutely true, do you get your money back?

I’ve got a lot of questions about this.

I believe that in many states there is an implied warranty of "fitness and merchantability" even if the seller doesn't offer an explicit warranty. I hope the people who find that they've bought "reuse" rights to one of the AP's many fake news stories will look into that.

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Sadr City — a journalist responds

Posted by Richard on June 15, 2008

My brief post about Sadr City on Friday drew a long comment from Fox News reporter Anita McNaught, who has been reporting from there recently. Since it's an important report from on the ground in Iraq that might be missed as a comment, and since I have (as usual) some things to say in response, I'm posting it here, along with my reply. Here is her comment:

You know.. sometimes I get really exasperated with bloggers who feed off limited intakes of media reports and construct their own realities off the basis of how they interpret something like a photograph.

First of all, your assertion that 'mainstream media' has not been in Sadr City is flat wrong.

I am a reporter with Fox News. I have already filed 2 reports from Sadr City examining the situation there – one at the end of May and the other in early June. We were the first TV crew to embed with the Iraqi Army and go beyond the US-controlled area to see what was going on there.

I have just got back from another 4 days in Sadr City, and am about to put together 3 more stories on the issues there.

The person with the camera on the left of that photo is, I believe, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal who was arriving as we left in early June.

This picture was shot in the US-controlled area of Sadr City. This part of the densely packed conurbation of more than 2 million people represents only about a quarter of the total area, and less than a quarter of its population. It is the most affluent part of the city, and a place where the Mehdi army extorted local businesses for million of dollars in cash every month in a violent protection racket. It has a population of business people whose priority is to get their businesses up and running as soon as possible.

Any kind of new military force maintaining a semblance of order allows them to do that.

Let me tell you what the situation is like there. Parts of the area (as you could see) are a complete bombed-out mess.. The US military are doing what they can about this, with compensation payments and grants of cash. Although Mehdi Army fighters probably caused most of the damage you are looking at, the locals still blame the US for the bulk of it.. because after all, if the US had not gone after them, their shops would still be standing.

And the security cordon the US has put up is causing many local complaints because they say it's keeping customers out.

This is perverse, and probably from an outsider's point of view unfair.. but it's the reality.

Are people happy to see the US military? Yes – up to a point. Kids are ALWAYS happy to see soldiers these days. The soldiers love them. They play ball with them, and give them lollipops, and ruffle their hair.. Kids steal their pens and ask them for money and footballs. They both kid around with each other. That's been the case in Iraq from the outset. Do their parents feel the same way? Who knows? People in Iraq survive by being nice to the person with the most power at any given moment in time.

So what about the Jaish Al Mehdi?

We spent a lot of time on the street, over the course of 4 trips in, talking to locals about how they felt. And most of them are far too scared about the ongoing presence of J.A.M. fighters to even tell you. JAM spies are everywhere, even in the US-controlled districts.

We can't go anywhere as reporters without 20-plus soldiers armed to the teeth and extremely vigilant. Twice last week the military escort to the US State Department working in Sadr City with local politicians was fired on by snipers. We dare not take off our helmets or body armour.

There was a place I wanted to go to film – in the US-controlled area of Sadr City – yesterday but was not allowed to because it was deemed too great a risk to me and my crew.

And there's the rest of Sadr City where the US isn't 'allowed' to go because of the terms of the Iranian-negotiated truce.. and where the Iraqi Army have not ventured either, except for token forays to say: "We're here! – (sort of)".

Has JAM been dealt to? Has it received the 'fatal blow'? No way. It's accepted universally that they are going to try to stage some kind of a come-back.. that they are waiting for a lessening of vigilance or a reduction of troop presence on either the US or Iraqi side, or both, to raise their heads again and try to re-establish control.

The only thing that will keep them at bay is if the local population stop backing them. But for decades, the Sadr Movement has been the only consistent support the people of Sadr City have had. With good reason, they don't trust anyone else. And the militia men are the 'devil they know'.

The media here is not 'hiding' a 'victory' from the US public. Things have in places all over Iraq demonstrably improved from how they were a year ago. But in many of those places it's on a knife edge. That knife edge COULD be a 'turning point'. I hope history will show it's a turning point.

But for any responsible journalist who sees what it's like on the ground, there are simply too many variables – very nasty variables – at play here.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories out there about what's 'really' happening in Iraq. But there is not some kind of 'liberal plot' to deny US citizens the facts.

It's a lovely photo. Like any photo, it doesn't tell the whole story.

First off,  Anita, thank you very, very much for sharing your on-the-spot perspective with me and my modest readership. I really appreciate it.

I admit I often paint with a broad brush. "Spouting off" — especially late at night after adult beverages — frequently leads to that. And of course, all generalizations are wrong. 🙂 I should have said there haven't been many reports instead of any. Your name sounded familiar, so I did a quick search and found a transcript of your June 10 story on Brit Hume's show. I'm sorry I missed that. Gen. Qureshi and Maj. Rider sound like interesting people, and it's a good story.

Frankly, I don't watch Fox News as much as I probably should. Maybe my timing is just bad, but most of the time when I tune in, it's either the latest missing coed, another murdered spouse, this week's Trial of the Century, or Democratic and Republican spinmeisters talking over the top of each other and quickly getting on my nerves.

I read the local papers and watch the local late news, and their Iraq coverage is mostly wire service reports. Online, I look at the NYTimes, WaPo, FoxNews, MSNBC, etc. But again, except for the first two, most of the stories are from AP, AFP, and Reuters (and most of those rely in part or in whole on local stringers whose objectivity and objectives are very much in question). In general, I don't see nuanced, balanced assessments. But I do see far, far, far fewer reports than in the past when the situation in Iraq was worse.

Case in point: In late March and early April, I saw a constant flood of stories about Operation Knight's Charge, and they were unrelentingly negative — "Basra Assault Exposed U.S., Iraqi Limits," "Assault on Basra Backfires," "Defeated Maliki Accepts Cease-Fire," "Sadr digs in as Basra attack falters," "Maliki Blinks," and my favorite, Time magazine's analysis of "How Moqtada al-Sadr Won in Basra." I don't remember even one of those stories (which generally built up al-Sadr and how he "stood up to" Maliki and the U.S.) mentioning that Mookie was in hiding in Iran the whole time.

To get a different perspective (and analyses that are much more knowledgable about military matters), I read Strategy Page, The Long War Journal, IraqStatusReport, etc. Dafydd and Sachi at Big Lizards (shield your eyes; the banner is blinding) performed yeoman service with a series of in-depth analyses (on March 27, March 28 , March 29, March 30, March 31, April 2, April 9, and a wrap-up on April 30) of the Basra and Sadr City operations, the negative MSM reports, and the very different assessments from alternative sources like Bill Roggio. Looking back now, it's clear that Dafydd and the sources on which he relied had the story far more correct from the beginning than, in particular, the AP and NYTimes.

As it became increasingly clear that the Maliki government and U.S. were achieving important political as well as military goals, that al-Sadr was being seriously weakened and marginalized, and that Operation Knight's Charge was not the defeat and embarrassment that media reports had prematurely declared, I saw fewer and fewer stories about how it was going. And the AP, as Dafydd pointed out in his April 30 post, decided that the best way to characterize the successes of April was to emphasize an increase in U.S. casualties.

Now, some of the lack of interest in success may be the natural tendency of the media to focus on disasters, tragedies, etc. And please understand that my criticism is not directed at you and your fellow journalists in Iraq. I realize that you're almost certainly correct to point out that this hasn't been an unqualified or final "victory." And I realize that reporters there are continuing to risk their lives and file stories all the time, but that the decisions about what to print or broadcast are in the hands of their editors and producers. I only see what passes through the filters, and only a fraction of that.

Nevertheless, the pattern of trumpeting bad news and downplaying or ignoring good news seems very clear to me (and very consistent over time). So I'll continue following the work of independent journalists like Michael Yon, Bill Ardolino, and Bill Roggio. They've been there too, they have military experience that informs their reporting, and they've been fair and balanced, as best I can tell — quite critical of our efforts when that's how they saw it. When their version of events contradicts that of some Iraqi AP stringers with unknown backgrounds and agendas (some of whom have clearly filed bogus stories and photos in the past), I know who I'm more inclined to trust.

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No news from Sadr City — I wonder why

Posted by Richard on June 14, 2008

Remember Sadr City, the Shi'ite suburb of Baghdad? That's the place where, according to mainstream media reports earlier this spring, American and Iraqi Army forces were being handed a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the all-powerful Mahdi Army, proving that the surge was a failure and the insurgent militias were in control.

There haven't been any mainstream media reports from Sadr City in a while (or from the other "Mahdi stronghold," Basra, which is now firmly in the hands of the Iraqi government). Gateway Pundit posted this U.S. Army photo that makes the reason for the MSM's sudden disinterest pretty clear:

US Troops Celebrated In Sadr City

A U.S. Army Soldier gets a lift from an Iraqi boy and his mule on Route Douglas in the Jamilla Market in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, June 9, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young, MNF-Iraq)

Really– What more can you say?
US Soldiers- Smiling children- Safe Streets- Sadr City
Sensational
.

Indeed™. 

(HT: Doug Ross, who thinks this may be the "photo o' the year," and wondered "when Reid and the rest of the Democrats will issue a formal apology to the U.S. military.")

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Iraq news too good to report

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2008

American casualties in Iraq fell to a five-year low in May. Prime Minister al Maliki has united large portions of the population across all ethnic groups. The Iraqi army successfully pulled off al Maliki's bold plan to reclaim Basra from the Mahdi Army. And both al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias are on the run everywhere.

But there aren't many news stories about Iraq these days, and you'd be hard-pressed to find much information about these developments in the mainstream media. When the subject of the surge's success does come up, those invested in our defeat will say just about anything to explain it away. Case in point: Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, insisted that the positive developments in Iraq aren't due to the surge, but to Iran's "goodwill."

Bless their hearts, the editors of The Washington Post acknowledged the good news in a surprising (to me, at least) editorial Sunday (emphasis added):

THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. [It's not odd to those of us who suspect there's an agenda behind the relentless coverage of bad news and ignoring of good.] While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is — of course — too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments — and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Read the whole thing

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