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Sunday, March 5, 2006
A Lack of Positive News?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

Said General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on Meet the Press

I don’t think we’re getting the goodness out to the American people the way we should. Somehow we need to find a way to have balance in the amount of reporting that we’re able to get out. If you remember back when the war began, we had 24/7 coverage. Folks could watch television, they could read newspapers, they could read magazines, and they could put together their own opinion of what’s going on. Now the amount of coverage from the war zone is much less than it used to be, and understandably, the coverage, then, that comes out is the bombings and the things like that. People don’t get a chance to see or hear about all the good things that are happening.

There was a time that I was more receptive to the argument that there was an over-focus in the reporting on the negative, and an under-reporting of the positive. However, at this point such pronouncement out of the mouths of administration officials sounds empty and disingenuous.

For one thing, such a statement radically underplays the obvious fact of serious problems on the ground in Iraq. Secondly, if there truly is a surfeit of positive stories that are being ignored, it seems to me that the administration should be working harder to get them out. Yet, we have not seen such a move (indeed, this is a move that the administration has never undertaken), which leads me to believe that there really aren’t all of these obvious positive stories.

Indeed, I still think that we don’t get a full, in-depth picture of what is going on in Iraq. However, the notion that we simply aren’t getting the good news and hence are getting an artificially negative assessments regarding Iraq strikes me as a hollow one. It is clear that the situation is not where the administration thought it would be at this stage, and no amount of good news will change that fact.

Having lived in a place (Colombia) where press coverage paints a grimmer picture than what one lives on a daily basis, I am amenable to the notion that the news coverage paints a picture of greater chaos than is actually the case. However, there is also no doubt that life in Iraq is being disrupted by serious political violence-far more than is healthy for the institution building that need to take place in Iraq at this moment.

Filed under: Iraq, US Politics, Global Politics | |Send TrackBack

2 Comments »

  1. “Getting the Goodness Out” is definitely my new favorite phrase, but it’s really not something a General should be saying (it sounds very Hippie).

    I think the Bush administration has come dangerously infatuated with the idea that the public’s disenchantment with the war is all because of unbalanced media reporting. Bush and Cheney seem to think — and have acted as though they think — that they don’t actually have to do anything differently, they just need to speak directly to the people and tell them that we’re winning in Iraq. They’ve been trying this for months now (remember the “strategy for victory” speech?) and it doesn’t work.

    At a time when every poll shows that the vast majority of Americans think Iraq is headed for civil war, it’s not enough to go on TV and say that, no, there’s not going to be a civil war; the administration needs to explain how they’re going to avoid a civil war. And they need to explain how they’re going to achieve their original strategy — arming the Iraqis to fight themselves — without creating further danger of civil war. If Bush keeps on sticking to the idea that things are great and he just needs to cut through the MSM filter and let us know that things are great, he will never be able to revive support for the war.

    Oddly enough, what we’re seeing in this administration is the danger of a government being run by people who really believe that the MSM is out to get them. When that happens, you can dismiss your falling popularity as a product of the MSM distortions and vow to keep doing the same things over and over. Nixon was like that. Johnson eventually became like that. Whereas Reagan and Clinton, shrewder operators, understood that when their popularity fell it was time to do something different or hire new people.

    Comment by M.A. — Sunday, March 5, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  2. Secondly, if there truly is a surfeit of positive stories that are being ignored, it seems to me that the administration should be working harder to get them out. Yet, we have not seen such a move (indeed, this is a move that the administration has never undertaken), which leads me to believe that there really aren’t all of these obvious positive stories.

    agreed. Perhaps they forget that there is a legion of reporter’s writing down everything that comes out of the president’s mouth, following him around the world and micro-analyzing every statement.

    That seems like as good a media outlet for specific, positive stories as I could imagine.

    Comment by eric — Sunday, March 5, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

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