Friday, July 02, 2004

The Media and Iraq

The media coverage of the War in Iraq may well go down as one the biggest failures in the history of modern media. The coverage has been abysmal. Before the war there was fear, justified fear, that the oil wells would be set ablaze, that Saddam would launch strikes with WMD, blow the dams and cause intentional environmental damage as he had done during the first Gulf War. There was also justified fear that the war would cause a massive refugee problem. Thanks to careful planning and masterful implementation by the military, none of this occurred. If we look back at the media coverage during the actual war, the swiftest, most successful campaign in the history of modern warfare was called a "quagmire" on every major network when the column of soldiers and machines and supplies paused to wait out a sandstorm. When the sandstorm subsided (after two whole days) the next "failure of planning" reported by hysterical out of breath reporters was that the supply line was "stretched to too thin". "Journalists" peppered the administration and military leaders as to how this error in planning could have happened. There were ridiculous rumors (rumors nevertheless reported on the nightly news) that many soldiers had no food and because of the situation it would be difficult to get meals to them. After none of that proved to be true and the military made their first appearance in Baghdad within days of the start of the invasion, the focus shifted to the "tens of thousands" of soldiers that could potentially be killed in urban warfare in "Fortress Baghdad". This was spouted by dozens of former military men that the networks hired as analysts, and repeated over and over, until the statue fell that fateful day in April. At that point the focus immediately shifted to "winning the peace" and how, in actuality, that would be much harder than winning the war that two weeks before was labeled a quagmire.

Since that day the coverage of the events in Iraq has gotten worse. The media elite have been determined to relive their youth by turning Iraq into Vietnam and using its failure to defeat the President in the fall. Many soldiers have died since the end of major combat, mostly due to terror tactics employed by dead enders and foreign terrorists. Most of the damage in post war Iraq has been caused by road side bombs and car bombs, two tactics employed by the terrorists that would be almost impossible to stop. The civil war that many in the media predicted never materialized. Then the press was given photos of prisoners being humiliated at ABU Ghraib and the rest is history. That story made the front page of major newspapers for weeks and is still bubbling under the surface waiting for a new photo to arrive in the in box of a journalist to elevate it to above the fold status again. So relentless was the coverage that the prison is now synonymous with the United States and the actions of a dozen or so soldiers, while few in America know of the hideous torture that took place there for years under Saddam Hussein. Americans looking for any good news out of Iraq have turned to the internet, where news of all types from every part of the world can be found, including blogs from Iraq (linked to the right). Major American media has been successful in suppressing anything that could be considered good news. Not until obvious events occurred like the transfer of power did most Americans start to see that things in Iraq weren't as bad as they had been told by the morning shows and New York Times.

Eric Johnson, a Marine Corps reservist who served in Iraq has an op-ed in the New York Post that provides a perfect example of how the media operate in Iraq. This is a must read. Pass this article along to everyone you know. It will make your blood boil in anger at the "journalists" that are passing judgment on the operations on Iraq.

Diane West has written an article about how the media coverage has directly effected the soldiers still in Iraq (to the point that they are willing to die to protect a burning humvee so that the news won't be able to broadcast pictures of the terrorists celebrating on its worthless burned out shell). Another article to read and pass around.