Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To The MSM: Get Out Of The Hotel And See Iraq

This morning I watched NBC's TODAY Show. There was an interview segment hosted by David Gregory featuring James Carville and Laura Ingraham that focused on events being reported out of Iraq. The greatest point in the interview was made by Laura when she challanged NBC to do a week of remotes from different cities in Iraq.

This account from News Busters website -

Like a top point guard, Laura Ingraham tenaciously fought through the Gregory-Carville double-team to make her case. She pointed out that NBC and the Today show expended huge resources to cover the Olympics and even to answer the question "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" She suggested that they devote some of the same resources to broadcast the Today show directly from Iraq, that they accompany troops, speak with US and Iraqi military personnel and with villagers and see the reality on the ground.

Instead, pointed out Ingraham, the MSM's approach is to stand on a balcony in the Green Zone, reporting on the latest IEDs, killings and reprisals. A timorous Gregory replied: "And you think Iraq is safe enough [to do what Laura proposed]?" Ingraham: "Yes. I was not on the hotel balcony. I was out with the U.S. military. It can be done in any part of the country." Laura attempted to continue, but Gregory cut her off: "I get the anti-network point."
Read It All>>

However, it was this article posted at Real Clear Politics by Jack Kelly (Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio) which drove the point home with greater authority. (ht: Hugh Hewitt)

March 21, 2006
Ignorance Pervasive in Reporting From Iraq
Jack Kelly

My friend Bill Roggio, an Army veteran and Web logger who was embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq last fall, was a guest Saturday on a segment of the CNN show "On the Story." The topic was news coverage from Iraq.

"On the Story," which airs at 7:00 p.m. EST, gets even lower ratings than the average CNN show, so there's a question of how representative of American public opinion audience reaction is. But before the segment with Bill began, host Ali Velshi conducted a little poll.

"Give me a show of hands if you have confidence in the news coming out of Iraq," Mr. Velshi asked the studio audience. "It looks like about 30 percent of you.

"Let's see a show of hands of those of you who don't have confidence like (Defense Secretary) Donald Rumsfeld says," he asked. "That looks like 90 percent of you."

Mr. Roggio gave the media a D+. Reporting often is inaccurate, usually lacks context, and often aids al Qaida, he said.
It's also significant that Operation Swarmer was conceived by, and largely planned and executed by, the Iraqi army. An air assault is the second most difficult tactical maneuver for ground forces (only crossing a river under fire is more difficult), one which requires meticulous planning. That this one was pulled off essentially without a hitch indicates how far the Iraqi army (which, for all practical purposes, didn't exist a little more than a year ago) has come in a very short time.

"The reporting on Operation Swarmer is a microcosm of the sub-par reporting on the Iraq war," Mr. Roggio said.
CNN correspondent Abbi Tatton implied that because Bill is a former soldier, his view is biased. "Are you not too close to this to be objective yourself?" she asked.

Consider the implications of this attitude. Would a reporter who is a lawyer (such as Fox News' Megyn Kendall) be considered biased in covering the courts simply because she actually knows something about the law? Would a reporter who is a doctor (such as CNN's Sanjay Gupta) be considered biased simply because he actually knows something about medicine? Yet news organizations consider it proper to have our wars covered by people who are unclear about from which end of the rifle the round comes.
Actor and antiwar activist Richard Belzer said he knows more about the war in Iraq than do U.S. servicemen in Iraq because he "reads 20 newspapers a day." But 20 biased, shallow and incomplete accounts don't add up to the truth.

Note: Other web based reporting sources - new media voices, like Michael Totten, Michael Yon, Victor Davis Hanson, and Robert Kaplan, have reported directly from Iraq and most have judged the MSM coverage to be inadequate.

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